Celebrity priest says boys often seducers

Aug. 30, 2012 at 5:31 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A New York Catholic priest who hosts a weekly television show said this week teenage boys often seduce men.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, also said child sex abusers should not be jailed for a first offense, the National Catholic Register reported.

Groeschel, who has a weekly show on Catholic television network EWTN, made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register.

"People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to -- a psychopath," Groeschel said in the interview. "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."

The interview is no longer available on the newspaper's Web site.

"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," Groeschel said. "It's an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers."

Groeschel also expressed sympathy for convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of abusing 10 boys during a 15-year period, calling him a "poor guy."

The Register said Groeschel could not be reached for comment about his comments.

But Jeanette R. De Melo, editor in chief of the Register, published a comment with the report on Groeschel.

"Child sexual abuse is never excusable," she said. "The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel's comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize. Given Father Benedict's stellar history over many years, we released his interview without our usual screening and oversight. We have removed the story. We have sought clarification from Father Benedict."

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