Sandusky’s Apologist: Child Abuse Victims “Seduce” Their Tormentors According To Catholic Monk

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Fr. Benedict Groeschel is a prominent member of the ultra-right Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with his own religious column and a programming spot on EWTN, the ominous sounding Global Catholic Channel. In a recent article in the Catholic Register, Groeschel takes aim at the Sandusky scandal at Penn State and the objects of his ire are the child abuse victims. Because, to the learned friar, it is Sandusky, and not his prey, that is the rightful recipient of sympathy. Calling Sandusky “this poor guy” he says:

“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.”

Groeschel also went on to explain that, based on his take on history, sexual relationships between men and young boys are not matters of legal concern:

“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. Sometimes statutory rape would be — but only if the girl pushed her case. Parents wouldn’t touch it. People backed off, for years, on sexual cases. I’m not sure why. . .

At this point, (when) any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act — not necessarily intercourse — they’re done.

And I’m inclined to think, on their first offense, they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime.”

It’s easy to dismiss this as the ramblings of a crazy old man who has since apologized and blamed his age and the lingering effects of an  automobile accident for the inexplicable sentiments.  But what is frightening is the absolute silence from Rome or any other Catholic authority decrying the madness. Oh, the Catholic Register hurriedly pulled the piece and apologized but not until the backblast became overwhelming. The CR  added that it published the story based on Fr. Groeschel’s “stellar history,” and without the publication’s “usual screening and oversight.”   The Franciscan Friars of  Renewal went into damage-control and stated the obvious that, ” A child is never responsible for abuse. Any abuser of a child is always responsible, especially a priest. Sexual abuse of a minor is a terrible crime and should always be treated as such.”

But the troubling aspect of the scandal hasn’t been explored. What if Fr. Groeschel’s words aren’t the product of a month-long coma and  failing “health, memory and cognitive ability” as the hierarchy suggests? (After all he still has his TV show explaining Catholic dogma). What if the editors of the Catholic Register actually did do the jobs they are paid for and approved the article?  And finally, what if these sentiments, far from being on the periphery of  Catholic thought, are in the mainstream attitude of Catholic clergy?


No more so than the myriad of child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the church and made Sandusky an amateur by comparison.

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

65 thoughts on “Sandusky’s Apologist: Child Abuse Victims “Seduce” Their Tormentors According To Catholic Monk”

  1. Folks re Ms Martin.

    There are young nuns there! And sister nuns with the same tastes and inclinations as she has demonstrated.
    He/they let the girls starve alone in their cells. What can one say. There are no words for it.

  2. Elaine,
    I am unfortunately familiar with the Cardinal Law case. Disgusting.
    that is an amazing story about Ms. Martin being released to a convent!

  3. Something some of you may want to check involving the Catholic Church in my homeland: This week, the ex-wife of Belgium’s most notorious child killer was released. Ms.Martin, ex-wife of Marc Dutroux, who is accused of helping to lure two of the children later killed by Mr. Dutroux will go to a, get THIS, CONVENT in France; yes, the kind of place where pious nuns live, pray and work.

  4. Professor Turley, I want you to know that it’s pure torture to me to keep finding articles about the fanatics of the Catholic faith, including the pope!! As an ex-Catholic I would rather just not seem anything which reminds me of that authoritative, misogynist and patriarchal entity. I will admit to reading them anyway and while it is a torturous experience it is also always a good reminder of why I left that religion and never replaced it with another one. Yes, people didn’t used to complain about rape for the simple reason that the church, aided often by the government, held absolute power over so many. I say this man is a disgusting pig.

  5. Cardinal this, Cardinal that, Cardinal sin. The only Cardinals that matter are the Saint Louis Baseball Cardinals.

  6. The things we build, from images we create.
    Block our vision, by the shadows they make.
    Then the darkness of shadow, engulf the man.
    And that is all he sees.
    And all he sees he believes.
    Beware the bars of this cage called life,
    …..And the shadows they cast. DB

    A little ditty from my pot smoking days, …many a while ago

  7. Do I have to read all 150,000 pages (estimated) of the various versions of the Talmud to get these nuggets?

    Or do you promise a weekly supply for the hungry.

    BTW, that pretty well sums it all up, including Plato’s cave.

  8. Because I am not a professional anything, I have been able to actually speak with child molesters (more than most, because of some of my volunteer activism) and get their own descriptions of whose fault everything is. I’m not sure these are listed in the exact order of prevalence (I did not do any formal tabulation, contemporaneous or historical) but:

    1. The child’s mother made me do it by being [crazy][bad][denying me sex][suggesting to the child that I was dirty].

    2. The child seduced me [because I’m so attractive][because she’s so needy][because he’s so depraved].

    3. Society made me do it because it is so obscene and hates sex.

    4. Society made me do it because people look down on me.

    5. Society made me do it because they misinterpret real affection.

    All this means is that the defender of pedophiles identifies more with THEM than with their VICTIMS. Naturally, if you see a man who has molested children and you identify more with HIM than with THEM, you don’t say, “poor kids,” you say “poor guy.” OF COURSE this monk is a pedophile, I’d lay odds on it. If he weren’t, he would be seeing things differently.

    The Talmud says, “We do not see things as they are, we see things AS WE ARE.”

  9. rafflaw,

    Cardinal Law–who had been head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston–was given a position in Rome. (Law has since left that job.)

    Cardinal Law Given Post In Rome
    By AL BAKER; Laurie Goodstein and Daniel J. Wakin contributed reporting from New York
    Published: May 28, 2004

    Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who was forced to resign as leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston after a long and painful sexual abuse scandal involving clergy members, was chosen by Pope John Paul II on Thursday to head a basilica in Rome.

    A statement released in the Vatican’s daily bulletin announced that Cardinal Law, who resigned in 2002, would become the archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, a church in a downtown neighborhood of Rome that is under direct Vatican jurisdiction.

    The statement said that Cardinal Law, 72, would succeed the 82-year-old Italian Cardinal Carlo Furno, but it did not say when. It made no mention of Cardinal Law’s new responsibilities, but a Vatican official said that ”now he will be responsible for one of the four most important basilicas” in Rome. ”He will be in charge of the administration of the priests and anything related to the basilica,” the official said of Cardinal Law. He added that the post ”is not a position of power.”

    The appointment angered the cardinal’s critics and others who see it as a reward.

    David G. Clohessy, the national director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a nonprofit support group based in Chicago, chided church leaders in Rome for what he called insensitivity to abuse victims.

    ”Why can’t the Vatican officials see that any position of honor afforded to Law will inevitably and needlessly cause more pain to hundreds who have been abused and have already suffered enough?” Mr. Clohessy said. He added, ”It just rubs salt into already deep wounds for parishioners, victims and their families.”

    1. Why can’t the Vatican Officials see ……….. because they don’t want to see, they believe that with their vow to God and Church, everything is excusable
      because they are above the sin, because they ” sacrificed ” their life to God !
      Idiots, criminals ! just act like normal human beings ! there are enough challenges in that to please any God and rewards to collect. They jeopardized all that with their blurred minds.

  10. Elaine,
    Amazing article. It is telling that 9 other victims were abused by this so-called man of god and this is the first time he has been charged criminally. Where are the Bishops who moved this guy around for years?

  11. Having the normal collection of hormones (they don’t end at taking your vows), it must be tempting to a fully hetero priest to listen to the confessions. I don’t knowa about any of it, but like all things listful there are ones which must be resisted, should they ARISE.

    I will leave the matter of priest and the RCC to those more familiar. If priest candidates are so to say pre-selected by their own inclinations and by selection by priests, then that is an institutional problem.

    Thank goodness I took a vow of agnosticism at 10 years.

    I think the golden rule must encompass that one should never use/abuse others for your own pleasure. And no claims of rape or seduction please.

  12. The latest on the sexual abuse of a child by a priest from my neck of the woods:

    Priest accused of rape
    McCormick pleads not guilty to assaults on boy at summer camp

    IPSWICH — A former high-ranking Catholic priest repeatedly raped a boy at a summer camp in Ipswich 30 years ago, forcing the frightened victim to seek safety in the woods, on a fire escape and under a bunk, prosecutors said yesterday.

    The Rev. Richard J. McCormick, 71, pleaded not guilty to five counts of child rape and was released on $1,000 cash bail to the custody of a fellow Salesian Brothers priest.

    Ipswich police arrested McCormick on Thursday in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he lives at the Salesians’ eastern U.S. headquarters. Standing in handcuffs yesterday in Salem Superior Court, McCormick said “not guilty” five times in a strong voice as a clerk read each of the five counts.

    The victim came forward a year and a half ago, said Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who has represented hundreds of victims of clergy abuse.

    Garabedian said he has reached financial settlements on behalf of nine other victims of McCormick, but this is the first time that McCormick has been charged criminally.

    “My client should be proud of himself for pursuing this criminal matter,” Garabedian said. “It takes a lot of strength and courage.”

    Garabedian said McCormick abused nine victims from 1963 to 1982 in Massachusetts, New York and, in one case, in a convent in Rome.

    McCormick is the former head of the Salesian Brothers of Don Bosco for the eastern United States, which includes thousands of members east of the Mississippi and in eastern Canada. Garabedian said the position is the equivalent of a bishop in an archdiocese.

    The abuse of the current victim took place in the summers of 1981 and 1982 when the boy was 9 and 10 years old, prosecutor Kate MacDougall said. It happened at a summer camp run by the Salesian Brothers at the Sacred Heart retreat center on County Road in Ipswich, where the Salesian Brothers once had a seminary. The property is now the home of New England Biolabs.

    McCormick’s arrest came after a yearlong investigation by the Essex County district attorney’s office and the Ipswich Police Department after the victim approached the district attorney’s office.

    MacDougall said McCormick singled out the victim because the boy did not have a father who was active in his life. She said the abuse took place both in the camp’s office and in the boy’s dorm room.

    The victim was so afraid of McCormick that he would hide in the woods, on a fire escape or under his older brother’s bunk during the night, MacDougall said.

  13. Excellent article Mark. This wingnut is not the extreme of the Catholic Church. I think he is the mainstream. For decades the RCC has hid and still hides the identities of most priest abusers and in many cases the predators were sent to other parishes to continue their pedophilia. There are Bishops, Cardinals and maybe even Popes who should be doing time.

  14. Darren, sad thing is he may well have convinced himself that the child did, indeed, rape him. (I have to wonder if that is how some of them rationjalize it to themselves – at least those with some sembleance of a conscience.)


    Most child molesters are able to molest dozens of children before they are caught. Boys and girls are at nearly equal risk to be abused and almost a quarter will be molested sometime before their 18th birthday. Most children do not tell anyone, and those who do often have to tell multiple people before someone calls the police or child welfare services. The overwhelming majority of child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know and trust, someone most parents would never suspect. Females are estimated to account for less than 20% of child molesters.

    Most child molesters are in a position of trust and are often able to undermine the child’s ability to accurately perceive the behavior as abusive. Most molesters are also able to convince other adults that it never happened or that the child misunderstood.

    Molesters abuse children they are sexually and emotionally attracted to, children they feel are vulnerable and needy, and children they feel that they can control and manipulate into keeping the abuse a secret.

    Child molesters may lead up to the abuse by forming a friendship or paying special attention to the child, taking them places, buying them gifts or giving them extra support and encouragement. They may offer to “help out” with babysitting or transportation. They may exploit children who are neglected or verbally abused by their parents by positioning themselves as the one who is “nice” while the parents are “mean”. If the child’s relationship with the parents is basically sound, the offender may try to start conflicts within the family in order to alienate the child from the family.

    Molesters also test and desensitize children by telling dirty jokes, talking about sexual things and engaging in non-sexual physical contact like back-rubs, wrestling, hugging and horseplay. This behavior generally starts long before the sexual touching starts and serves to normalize contact and trust. The increased physical relationship and intimate talk between the child and offender makes it easier for the offender to introduce sexual behavior into the relationship. If the child’s parent has been present when some of the close physical contact or joking has occurred, it also makes the child think it must be ok.

    Some offenders are so good at developing dependent relationships that their victims feel obligated and may even feel protective of the offender, especially when the offender is a parent, relative, admired family friend, teacher, coach or priest.

    Many molesters work just as hard to seduce and manipulate adults as they do children. They may work very hard to present themselves as a moral and upright person. They think about and plan lies and excuses to talk people out of reporting them to law enforcement if caught or suspected.

  16. Molestering kids, and blame them too !
    Guess he will blame all the human race, male or female to be seducers, maybe he was one, once when he was 14 16 18 years of age.
    Doesn’t he know the Scriptures, God made mankind one of each and animals, one you satisfy your hunger with, and one you satisfy your needs with….. oh did he mix them up !
    The seed of the problems have been and will always be, the fact that they believe in marrying the church, not the God- made other pair, to love and produce offsprings with.

  17. This is not confined to the Catholic Church unfortunately. It is prevelant in many other institutions that deal with children. It is also very often the kind of ideology in conservative, hierarchical organizations that grant near unlimited power to a priest or other such “leader” that fosters such “thinking”. One can see the same thing in the military as witness the recent court-martials in the USAF.

  18. Blaming the victims, a classic sign of a molester. I agree with Mark, one has to wonder if people who make such outlandish claims as to generalizations about victims encouraging their own raping often points to the speaker being one of the offenders.

    A friend of mine at the Sheriff’s Office had a case where a man about 25 years old was accused of molesting his 8 year old god-son. The evidence was good. During the interview, he admitted to having sex with the boy but was professing strongly he was raped.

    When my buddy asked him if he thought that others would find it hard to believe a 25 year old man was raped by an 8 year old boy, the man continued to say it could happen, and it did to him.

    I know this is just an individual case but has semblence of many others.

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