Teens Seduce Priests In Some Sex Abuse Cases, Priest Claims

In some cases of sexual abuse by priests, teenage survivors act as seducers according to an American priest, Father Benedict Groeschel, in an interview last week with the National Catholic Register.

It’s a remark that’s basically equivalent to saying a woman is “asking to be raped” because of the clothing she is wearing.

The 78-year-old Groeschel founded the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal 25 years ago. He received a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University in 1971 and made his controversial, and deeply disturbing, remarks when the National Catholic Register ask him about his work with sexual abuse perpetrators.

While I was able to see a cached webpage with Groeschel’s National Catholic Register interview via a link from the Huffington Post, the cached version is no longer visible of this posting and Groeschel’s interview has been taken down. The quotes from the interview are via the Huffington Post.

While people have this “picture in their minds” of a “psychopath” at the mention of priests who sexually abuse children, Groeschel said:

“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 made a comment to the effect that “kids looking for father figures might be drawn to priests to fill an emotional hole in their lives.”

Excuse me but, whatever the psychological state of a child, a priest, as an adult and especially one in a position of authority and power is supposed (it hardly needs to be said) to act responsibly and appropriately.

Groeschel also said that it is his belief that most of what he termed “relationships” are heterosexual in nature. He claimed that “historically sexual relationships between men and boys have not been thought of as crimes,” saying that

“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.”

Thank heavens it’s not that dark era “back 10 or 15 years ago” and predatory priests who sexually abused vulnerable children are now being prosecuted for their crimes and not sheltered by their superiors in the Church.

Indeed, just last month, Philadelphia Monsignor William J. Lynn became the first and highest-ranking Roman Catholic official to be convicted in the priest sex abuse scandal. Lynn has been sentenced to 3 to 6 years in state prison. According to prosecutors, the monsignor knowingly reassigned predatory priests to parishes, covered up credible accusations, never notified law enforcement and did not take sufficient measures to keep potential molesters away from children

As the Huffington Post observes, Groeschel has not been unaffiliated with controversy:

… [Groeschel] now lives in Larchment, N.Y., where he assists with Trinity Retreat, a center for prayer and study for the clergy he founded.

Trinity House stirred controversy in 2006 when the press learned that New York priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children, but not legally convicted, had the option of a life-long close supervision program that began with a stay at the retreat. In the wake of community objections, the Archdiocese later removed Trinity House from the list of program’s offered facilities, according to the Larchmont Gazette.

In other words, Groeschel has played at least some part in sheltering priests charged with sexually abusing children.

The author of a number of books who appears on a religious television network, Groeschel is also a professor of pastoral psychology at St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) of the Archdiocese of New York. One has to wonder what he teaches seminarians — or rather, based on the (now-removed) National Catholic Register interview, one has too much of an idea of Groeschel’s teachings.

Related Care2 Coverage

Catholic Church Official Gets 3-6 Years For Child Abuse Cover-up

Penn State’s Accreditation in Jeopardy Over Abuse Scandal

Do “Nice Guys” Contribute to Rape Culture?

Photo by GlasgowAmateur


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

gasp! but don't priests have protection against sin?! you'd think god would have considered that, especially since these poor seduced priests are an embarrassment to the system

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder5 years ago

Even if it was true, don't they know the meaning and use of no?

Carol Gilster
Carol Gilster5 years ago

So, is the argument that these molester priests are all having "nervous breakdowns"?
Does the church accept any responsibility for assessing the mental health of their priests in order that their breakdowns can be predicted and/or addressed upon recognition?
Does having a nervous breakdown then cancel the responsibility of that priest and/or the church for the damage done children by priests in such circumstances?

BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

James K; "Fr. G has a medical condition where physically he has trouble speaking or finding the right words. And his memory is very poor (from a major car accident and a stroke)"

First of all, Fr. G HAS A WEEKLY CATHOLIC TELEVISION PROGRAM, if I am not mistaken? And of course, he MUST say on that program, what is Official Catholic Doctrine and not deviate from it? or he would be called into line? And his memory is good enough to speak weekly to Catholics, I assume in some kind of sermon? {I do not have cable TV and would never watch a Catholic program anyway.}
Secondly, this Interview was given in a Catholic Magazine, again that must speak for Catholics, not deviating from Catholic Doctrine - and the Interview was OF COURSE vetted, how could it NOT be - and the magazine CHOSE TO PUBLISH IT JUST AS IT WAS. And it is NOT, clearly, a matter of "the right words" - this word or that word - IT IS THE BASIC THOUGHT, which is UNMISTAKABLE.
PEDOPHILES AND PEDOPHILIA WILL BE RIFE WITHIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, as long as their REPRESSIVE, MIS-GUIDED attitudes on Sexuality prevail - there is no way around that!

BMutiny TCorporationsAreE

James K: "the John Jay study commissioned by the Church showed that most of the abuse occurred between 1965 - 1985, which they attributed in large part to the sexual revolution."

Oh, yeah, the old "The HIPPIES made me do it!" argument!
First of all, and unbelievably, no matter when "most" of the "abuse" [CHILD RAPE] was said to have occurred, IT IS STILL GOING ON TODAY. Yes, I find it HARD TO BELIEVE, but it is TRUE. When I read about a priest who took photographs at a Church event up little girls' dresses... just LAST YEAR. And that is just ONE instance. I am sure that in the COMING YEAR, in spite of everything, there will be INSTANCES OF CHILD RAPE BY PRIESTS - who just can't seem to be able to CONTROL THEMSELVES, in spite of the fact that they WILL be found out!!!
And it seems that "Hippies" EXERT MORE MORAL AUTHORITY OVER PRIESTS, than PRIESTS exert Moral Authority over the Public! I guess the religious indoctrination of the priests just GOES BY THE WAYSIDE.... besides,
HIPPIES DID NOT ADVOCATE RAPING CHILDREN. Or Child Porn. Or planning to MURDER the children you had illicit sex with, as one priest is charged...

Brian M.
Past Member 5 years ago

I'm sure the fox in the hen house would say it's not his fault that the chickens jump in his mouth.

Dan B.
Dan Brook5 years ago

another disgusting priest.

Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon5 years ago

With the amount of sexual repression and misinformation forming the personality of many men who become priests it isn't surprising that they think if they find a young person attractive that young person is being seductive.

Past Member
Heather T5 years ago

I am horified by many of the Clergy nowadays. They have lost my respect.

Dennis Velco
Dennis Velco5 years ago

Wow... what a horrific statement to make. Even if there is any slight sliver of truth.... who is the "adult" who is suppose to lead with moral conviction here??

Thanks for this article and your reporting. What you do is appreciated.

I posted it to my LGBT Group on LinkedIn to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup.

Link to group >> http://www.linkedin.com/groups/LGBT-Gay-GLBT-Professional-Network-63687/about

All LGBT and community allies.... please come join me and 15,000 of your soon to be great connections on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world's countries.

It's core value is - Visibility can lead to awareness which can lead to equality. Come stand with us and increase our visibility on the globe's largest professional networking site. Be a professional who just happens to be LGBT - or a welcomed community ally.