Father Benedict Groeschel Says Priests Who Sexually Abused Children Were Actually Victims of Seduction

In a recent interview with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel, of the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said that sometimes teens seduced priests involved in sexual abuse cases.

When Groeschel was asked about his work with sexual abuse perpetrators he responded withe following:

“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath,” Groeschel said. “But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

When pressed for clarification he explained that kids looking for father figures might be drawn to priests to fill an emotional hole in their lives. Groeschel also said he believes that most of these “relationships” are heterosexual in nature, and that historically sexual relationships between men and boys have not been thought of as crimes.

“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago with different sexual difficulties — except for rape or violence — it was very rarely brought as a civil crime. Nobody thought of it that way… And I’m inclined to think, on [a priest’s] first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”

National Catholic Register has taken down the interview and Groeschel has offered this statement:

I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.

Not really sure which is worse, Mr. Groeschel’s statements or the fact that people still support the church.

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