Leading N.Y. Catholic Blames Kids for Seducing Sex Abusers

New York Magazine

By Joe Coscarelli

Friar Benedict Groeschel, the 79-year-old director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and a leader of the Bronx-based Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, has a theory on pedophilia. In an unbelievable interview with the National Catholic
Register, Groeschel explained of abusive priests, “People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him.” Then he kept going.

Via Andrew Sullivan:

A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer … It’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.

It’s an understandable thing … there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor. I think the statistic I read recently in a secular psychology review was about 2%. Would that be true of other clergy? Would it be true of doctors, lawyers, coaches?

Here’s this poor guy — [Penn State football coach Jerry] Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting: Why didn’t anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn’t break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.”

Groeschel goes on to say, “I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.” The article has since been deleted from the National Catholic Register, but lives on through Google and various dumbfounded media outlets, both religious and not.

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