Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR on Child Abuse: “Sometimes the Kid is the Seducer”

I’ve known of Fr. Benedict Groeschel for some time. I’ve found him to be somewhat pleasant on the occasions I’ve been in the same room with him. My sister would speak with him several times at Children’s Village where she served as a teacher for years. I’ve been a celebrations for my dear friend, Fr. Jim Lloyd where he’s been in attendance as well. So know that I hold no ill will against Fr. Benedict or his religious order, who I have seen with my own eyes do some incredible work with the poor.

So I’m hoping that in this interview he gave to the National Catholic Register, he didn’t mean this in the way that it came out. Because it sure doesn’t sound good.

He said this with regards to priests who are child sex abusers:

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.

NCR: Why would that be?
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.

It’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. Generally, if they get involved, it’s heterosexually, and if it’s a priest, he leaves and gets married — that’s the usual thing — and gets a dispensation. A lot of priests leave quickly, get civilly married and then apply for the dispensation, which takes about three years.

But 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.

Let me point out a number of troubling things to be clear:

There’s no way that a kid should be held responsible when it comes to sexual abuse. Even if a 17 year old consents to sex with an older man or woman the adult should know better than to engage in that type of act with a MINOR!

And “poor Jerry Sandusky?”—come on, Fr. Groeschel! Sandusky pathologically designed a way to become close to his victims and took full advantage of them and abused them for his own sexual deviancy. The fact that kids looked up to him is absolutely irrelevant.

Do I feel sorry for people who engage in sexual abuse, who are only attracted to teens at the same age they were when their sexuality got stunted by an abuser. Men and women who are caught in a vicious cycle of the abused becoming abusers?

Yes. I do. But that doesn’t mean they get a free pass and it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the fault of kid who got abused.

Would he say that a woman who got raped would be at fault because she showed affection to a man who couldn’t understand that “no meant no?”

I’m hoping that someone misspoke. Because I can’t believe that after all that’s been said and done about sexual abuse and the millions of dollars that are still be spent by the church on this, that Fr. Groschel would say something like this.