We’ve seen this kind of thing before, but it’s rare for someone to just come right out and say it. Father Benedict Groeschel, of the Archdiocese of New York, is suggesting that the Catholic pedophilia scandal is at least partially caused by adolescents seducing the overworked priests. He’s giving it the soft sell, not trying to come across as damning the young victims as vile tempters, but still …
“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to [commit child molestation] — 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.
“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.
“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 their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”
I think the interview reveals the mindset that could lead members of the Catholic hierarchy to hide pedophile priests instead of prosecuting them. It’s very clear that he empathizes with the poor, overworked priest – and the priests are frequently overworked and depressed. While he’s being nice about the lonely adolescents, he’s still laying the blame on them. I suspect that if you brought up those instances where the kids are younger than 14, or where it is clear that the priests were the aggressors, Groeschel would dismiss it as a fluke.