Catholic Priest Defends Child Molesters, Blames Victims

A well-known Catholic Priest who has his own show on the global Catholic television  network EWTN has made comments that essentially defend child sex abusers, including Jerry Sandusky:

A well-known Catholic priest who hosts a weekly religious television show said in an interview this week that child sex abusers are often seduced by teenage boys and should not go to jail on a first offense.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, who hosts a weekly show on Catholic television network EWTN, made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register. He also referred to convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky as a “poor guy.”

“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. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer,” Groeschel is quoted as saying in the interview, which is no longer available on the paper’s website.

The interview, billed as a reflection on the 25 years since Groeschel founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal order, covered many topics, but has gained attention for Groeschel’s comments on child sex abuse.

“Well, 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. I’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers,” he said.

(…)

Groeschel also commented on recently-convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach convicted of abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period.

“Here’s this poor guy — 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 said.

He also said that he did not think priests or lay people should go to jail based on a first offense of sexual behavior with young children.

“At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done. And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”

I’m not even sure where to begin here without using words that we try to avoid here at OTB, except to say that these comments are a perfect encapsulation of the insane and callous manner in which the Roman Catholic Church treated allegations of child sex abuse made against their priests for decades and decades. I understand that, as a Priest, Groeschel has an interest in the concepts of forgiveness and contrition, but when I was growing up as a Catholic I was always taught that both of those required the sinner to take responsibility for what they’ve done, not to sweep it under the rug and blame what they did on the person they hurt. His comments are absolutely, unquestionably, insane and one can only hope that he’s taken off the air for this.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Quick Takes, Religion,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    And then the Catholic Church wonders why the number of Catholics has dropped.




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  2. mantis says:

    That’s a man trying to desperately trying to compensate for something. He’s probably a molester himself.




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  3. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if Groeschel has ever been “seduced” by a teenage boy…




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  4. legion says:

    Doug: Hells yes.




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  5. The Florida Masochist says:

    The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is both hypocritical and out of touch. Here in the diocese of Palm Beach we had one bishop resign because he was a molester. Who gets to replace him? Another molester. The Pope makes the appointments but the second bishop knew his past and was so out of touch with reality that he couldn’t see the damage his past would do to the diocese when his background became public.




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  6. swbarnes2 says:

    His comments are absolutely, unquestionably, insane and one can only hope that he’s taken off the air for this.

    While I understand that it hurts victims to have this kind of vicious nonsense swirling around in the greater cultural dialogue, there’s also something to be said for keeping this guy on the air. This guy didn’t make up these arguments out of nothing. They aren’t products of his own warped brain alone. He got this from seminary. He got this from his fellow priests. He got this because in one sense or another, it’s what the hierarchy believes.

    People need to know that this is what the Catholic hierarchy believes. People need to know that when you put money in the offeratory, it goes to this guy, and to lots of people who think just like him, and who advocate policies that go along with this worldview. People in groups like Voice of the Faithful need to see that 10 years of trying to fix things from within the systerm, and this guy’s worldview still is the system.




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  7. bill says:

    i was seduced by a teenage girl before, i was 17 though so it’s ok! this guy is reason #2 why i can’t stomach going to church unless someone’s getting married or being buried.




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  8. al-Ameda says:

    The Church operates from a position of moral strength these days, doesn’t it?

    And of course this year we’re supposed to believe that the Catholic Church is somehow principled in its opposition to Insurance Mandates, which it countenanced when promulgated in the states, but now opposes because President Obama wants to implement such mandates as part of ACA.




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  9. michael reynolds says:

    A priest accidentally blurts out what the priesthood actually believes and has long believed. I have never for a minute bought the “tiny minority of priests” line The RC is a sick organization. Sick to its core.




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  10. grumpy realist says:

    Someone should point out to this idiot that intent to commit the act is the important bit, not whether the individual thought the act was criminal or not.

    You can still get put in the slammer for statutory rape, no matter what your intent (or that of the victim) was.




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  11. James says:

    @grumpy realist: Actually we have grown nearly 14% world wide. We must Remember that it is NOT EVERY priest… and That there are a lot of good men out there doing The Lord’s work… please also note that this man does not speak for anyone but himself… our church does not in anyway support this man’s statement.

    This is no different than a man having a compound somewhere in the middle of Utah professing to be the living prophet, with 10 of his 12 year old wives hanging around…

    and if children can take a gun to school and shoot their classmates up, they are quite capable of scheming up a plan to make a few million dollars. I’m not saying all, but any poor hungry mother or child, can turn on the television and see the reward in that…




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  12. Phillip says:

    @James:

    there are a lot of good men out there doing The Lord’s work

    Based upon your entire comment, you certainly aren’t one of them.




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  13. James says:

    @Phillip: im very sorry you feel that way, just trying to put my two cents in 🙂




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  14. His monastic order is now claiming he was hit in the head before the interview, an excuse so pathetic as to be hilarious:

    http://www.metro.us/newyork/Local/article/1150935–father-groeschel-apologizes-for-calling-victims-seducers-but-won-t-face-discipline




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  15. An Interested Party says:

    Actually we have grown nearly 14% world wide. We must Remember that it is NOT EVERY priest… and That there are a lot of good men out there doing The Lord’s work… please also note that this man does not speak for anyone but himself… our church does not in anyway support this man’s statement.

    Perhaps your words could be taken more seriously if the Catholic hierarchy itself didn’t enable and try to cover up the activities of pedophile priests…there are indeed a lot of good people in the Catholic Church, but unfortunately for them, their religion and its reputation are being desecrated by a group of evil men who are more worried about their reputations than they are about protecting the most vulnerable members of their church…




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  16. michael reynolds says:

    @James:
    What utter bull. The Catholic hierarchy has systematically, consistently, persistently and in all countries, enabled and protected child molesters. No other organization does this. The Roman Catholic church is a pedophile organization. It is a conspiracy of child rapists. The fact that many priests are wonderful people does not change that.

    You know the difference between the Catholic Church and NAMBLA? The latter is honest about who and what they are.




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  17. grumpy realist says:

    @James: If your church didn’t support something like this man’s statement, then why in the ^&%$!! did it move around abusing priests from parish to parish and NOT WARN ANYONE?!!

    By the way, since the Catholic Church never drops anyone off their register unless he or she specifically asked to be taken off, your so-called statistics on growth are as flabby as the rest of your excuses.




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  18. @James:

    Your church just finished an inquisition of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a move they claimed was necessitated by addresses by various members which “collectively held positions differing from Catholic Church teachings on sexuality”. As a result of that review, the organization has been stripped of it’s ability to manage itself. Anyone want to bet on the chances a similar review of the Franciscans will result from this?

    What are we supposed to think an organization that considers the possibility of female priests to be a bigger problem than child rape? And that spends more time punishing political dissent than punishing those that protect sexual predators?




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  19. Al says:

    Once upon a time my wife was a fairly devout Catholic. Today she still can’t stand to go to church. She’d like to but the church’s complete lack of accountability has completely soured her and I know she’s not the only one. Several Catholic schools in San Diego closed because attendance dropped.




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  20. MarkedMan says:

    What does it say about the Repubs that they consider getting the endorsement of the RC hierarchy a positive thing?




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  21. george says:

    @grumpy realist:

    @James: If your church didn’t support something like this man’s statement, then why in the ^&%$!! did it move around abusing priests from parish to parish and NOT WARN ANYONE?!!

    That’s the bottom line, isn’t it. And I’ve never heard an explanation for it.




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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James:

    and if children can take a gun to school and shoot their classmates up, they are quite capable of scheming up a plan to make a few million dollars. I’m not saying all, but any poor hungry mother or child, can turn on the television and see the reward in that…

    (my emphasis)

    James, as one who literally had religion beaten out of me by a succession of sadistic Nuns (Sister Kathleen? If there is a hell, that is where you reside), I was almost sympathetic to your pov right up until this statement. What is it with you catholic enablers? The church tells you people are only doing it for the money, and you buy that crap? Even as you fill the collection plate?

    Jesus, Mary, and Joseph… You people are stupid.




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  23. Rob in CT says:

    please also note that this man does not speak for anyone but himself

    Really.

    A well-known Catholic Priest who has his own show on the global Catholic television network EWTN

    Yeah, ok.

    And of course we know that hierarchy did everything that it could to cover up the rapes, avoid liability, and pretend there was no problem.

    Much like the Priest who supposedly doesn’t speak for you, you then go and blame the victims (oh, they just lied to get money).

    Go f*ck yourself (indeed, it might be the best thing for you. You’ll feel better, trust me).




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  24. Franklin says:

    I don’t have that much experience with the types of kids he is talking about, BUT there is one boy in my kid’s 1st grade class who doesn’t get any attention at home. The mom helpers in the class all report that he loves to give and receive hugs from them (and often he puts his hands on their butts). I imagine this is a bit like the cases this priest is talking about. But so far as I know, none of the mom helpers think it’s okay to develop this into a sexual relationship (in fact, I doubt the thought has ever crossed their mind). That’s the difference between normal people and these pedophiles.




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  25. Rob in CT says:

    And of course the same Church has the gall to lecture others on morality.

    Sick to the core.




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  26. @grumpy realist:

    If your church didn’t support something like this man’s statement, then why in the ^&%$!! did it move around abusing priests from parish to parish and NOT WARN ANYONE?!!

    Not to mention that 32 priests the RC has helped flee the US to avoid prosecution since 1985:

    http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/fugitives/priests.html




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  27. OMG, this just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. Now the usual suspects are jumping in to defend Groeschel from his critics:

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/1-catholic-leagues-bill-donohue-defends-pedophile-sympathizing-priest/news/2012/08/31/47879




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  28. Al says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Just for the record, most Catholics don’t know who or what the Catholic League is. Those that do are either in the league or think they’re crazy.




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  29. @Al:

    My issue is not with individual Catholics, but with the church hierarchy, and Donohue is certainly carrying water for them.




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