Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal said some things about child sexual abuse that disappointed those who look up to religious leaders. Groeschel said that in many abusive situations, the teens actually seduce the priests into physical relationships.
The massive story a decade ago that exposed scores of cases of sex abuse in the Catholic Church was one of the biggest scandals of the last 20 years. During his interview with the Catholic Register, Groeschel was asked about his work with those who’ve been accused of sexual abuse.
“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 asked about the comments later, the Friar said that some youth seeking a father figure may translate those emotions into sexual feelings. He also mentioned that, in the past, sex between men and boys was not always considered to be a crime.
“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.”