The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the order to which Father Benedict Groeschel belongs, is not planning to reprimand him for expressing sympathy for convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky and making comments about pedophilia victims seducing their abusers." /> Father Groeschel apologizes for sympathizing with Sandusky, but won't face discipline - Metro.us

Father Groeschel apologizes for sympathizing with Sandusky, but won’t face discipline

Groeschel often appears on weekly religious television shows.

A Franciscan friar in Westchester, N.Y., apologized Thursday for shocking comments he made to a Catholic newsletter, where he appeared to defend not only child sex abuse, but also disgraced former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel, 78, said boys without fathers are often the ones to approach their abusers.

“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, who is part of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said.

“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,” he added.

On the subject of Sandusky, who was convicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse, Groeschel  expressed sympathy.

“Here’s this poor guy — Sandusky — it went on for years. Interesting. Why didn’t anyone say anything?” Groeschel asked.

He also said he doesn’t think child sex abusers should be prosecuted for their first offense.

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

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the order to which Groeschel belongs, told Metro Thursday they are not planning to reprimand him for the comments.

Groeschel did, however, issue a statement of apology Thursday afternoon:

“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. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.”

He hit his head?

Groeschel, 78, was recovering from a fall where he hit his head when he gave the interview to the National Catholic Register, said Father Glenn Sudano, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

“He is a counselor and he is very dedicated to the poor, and the oppressed, and actually people who are victims of everything,” Sudano told Metro of Groeschel. “This is why it’s shocking that he even said this. It doesn’t even sound like him.”

Sudano would not disclose Groeschel’s whereabouts.

When asked whether Groeschel would face any consequences for his actions, Sudano replied, “He is recuperating. I can imagine him being confused, and frankly, knowing him, when it sinks in, he is going to be devastated that he hurt people.”

Sudano said that since Groeschel is not in a position of authority within the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, there will be no disciplinary action taken against him.

“It’s almost like your grandfather, what do you do?” Sudano asked. “There is no disciplinary action that logically could be done.”

Sudano said that only in extreme circumstances, when a crime is committed, will a friar be dispensed from his vows. Since the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal take a vow of poverty, there can be no monetary consequences for Groeschel, Sudano said.

Editor of Catholic newsletter apologizes

The National Catholic Register issued a statement of apology for printing Groeschel’s comments and removed the interview from its website.

“Child sexual abuse is never excusable,” Editor-in-Chief Jeanette R. De Melo said in a statement. “The editors of the National Catholic Register apologize for publishing without clarification or [challenging] Father Benedict Groeschel’s comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Condemned by New York Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of New York condemned Groechel’s comments and disassociated itself with them.

“The harm that was done by these remarks was compounded by the assertion that the victim of abuse is responsible for the abuse, or somehow caused the abuse to occur,” spokesman Joseph Zwilling said. “This is not only terribly wrong, it is also extremely painful for victims.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…