Rev. Benedict Groeschel, co-founder of the "Franciscan Friars of the Renewal" in New York City expressed sympathy for CONVICTED child rapist Jerry Sandusky, saying that it is often the "youngster" who is the seducer!!!
"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 said when asked by an interviewer from the National Catholic Register, the nation's oldest Catholic newspaper, about his work with priests who abuse children. "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." He suggested that children might lack a father figure and may seduce a priest.
On Thursday evening, Groeschel apologized, claiming his mind and ways of expressing himself "are not as clear as they used to be. 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," he said in a statement. "I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."
The Catholic Church has been known to cover up the sexual abuse of children by priests and has paid out billions in settlements to abuse victims. Several U.S. dioceses have been bankrupted as a result.
Similar scandals have shaken the lucrative world of college sports, most notably the conviction of Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, most of them in the campus football showers.
Groeschel referred to Sandusky as "this poor guy." Pondering how Sandusky's attacks could have gone on for so long, Groeschel added, "Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime."
The interview was published on Monday but was removed from the National Catholic Register's website by Thursday. It was replaced with a note from Jeanette De Melo, the Register's editor in chief, apologizing for what she called an "editorial mistake," saying the publication should have attempted to clarify or challenge his comments.
"Child sexual abuse is never excusable," she wrote.
The Archdiocese of New York said Groeschel's comments were "simply wrong" and could not go unchallenged, although it does not have direct authority over Groeschel, who retired from teaching in the archdiocese's seminary last year.
Colleagues of Groeschel suggested on Thursday that he was recovering from a fall and was mentally frail.
Barbara Blaine, president of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, called the remarks "callous."
"A teenager does not have the power to seduce anyone. The adult is in the position of power and authority," Blaine said. "He should be removed from speaking as a Catholic leader."