A New York Priest publicly suggested on Monday that child victims of sexual abuse seduced their abusers, using the remarks as a launching pad to defend convicted child predator and Penn State football Coach Jerry Sandusky.
Father Benedict Groeschel, the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, wrote an opinion piece for the National Catholic Register (which has since been taken down and replaced with several apologies) calling Sandusky a “poor guy” and blaming the victims of sexual abuse. Andrew Sullivan has the remarks:
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 … 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 …
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.
Groeschel was one of the founders of a Catholic ex-gay group named “Courage” and wrote a book titled “The Courage To Be Chaste” that urges gay men to lead a life of celibacy to avoid temptation.
It has been reported that Groeschel was in a debilitating car accident and that “in recent months his health, memory and cognitive ability have been failing.” On the web page for his apology, colleagues said, “We hope that these unfortunate statements will not overshadow the great good Fr. Benedict has done.”
There is no explanation yet for why the Register would print such comments, except for their explanation that it was “an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize.” The conservative Catholic League rushed to Groeschel’s defense, but other progressive Catholics have called out the sentiment, saying they “cannot stand unchallenged.”