Entries in Pedophiles (3)


Prominent Priest Defends Sex Abusers, Later Apologizes

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A well-known Catholic priest who hosts a weekly religious television show said in an interview this week that child sex abusers are often seduced by teenage boys and should not go to jail on a first offense.  But the comments were removed by the website that published them and replaced by an apology from the priest and the site's editors.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, who hosts a weekly show on the Catholic television network EWTN, originally made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register.  He also referred to convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach convicted of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, as a "poor guy."

"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 was quoted as saying in the interview, which is no longer available on the paper's website.

The interview has now been replaced by a statement from Groeschel.

"I apologize for my comments," it said.  "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 that I could.  I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."

Jeanette R. De Melo, the site's editor in chief, included her own apology for posting the interview.

"Child sexual abuse is never excusable," she wrote.  "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."

The interview, billed as a reflection on the 25 years since Groeschel founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal order, covered many topics, but Groeschel's comments on child sexual abuse brought it national attention.

"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.  I'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 was quoted as saying.

Quotes from the interview remained posted on websites including the National Catholic Reporter, the Huffington Post, and the Catholic blog Renew America, all of which criticized Groeschel for the remarks.

Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter called the comments "particularly disturbing" because of Groeschel's background in psychology.  He received a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.

"(The comments) cannot stand unchallenged," Roberts wrote.

Groeschel could not be reached for comment.  Representatives for the National Catholic Register and EWTN did not immediately return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Underage Sex Sting Nabs 40 Would-Be Pedophiles

Osceola County Sheriff's Office(OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla.) -- A Florida sex sting netted 40 adults, including a professional golfer, Army reserve soldier, teacher, and swim coach who attempted to have sex with individuals they thought were children they solicited on the Internet, according to police.

The Osceola County Sheriff's department conducted Operation Red Cheeks from Jan. 8 through Jan. 16 at locations throughout the county, setting up fake online identities where detectives posed as children in order to initiate contact with the suspects.

The suspects then traveled to an undercover house or meeting spot to have sex with the child, often bringing gifts including chocolate or wine, as well as condoms and Viagra.

Police said that most of the suspects sent pornographic images of themselves to the "children" they were chatting with online.

One suspect traveled from Georgia and another was on vacation from Alaska, police said.

The suspects include PGA professional golfer Stephen Wesley Thomas, who thought he was chatting with a woman about sex with her and her 13-year-old daughter, according to police. Thomas allegedly agreed to perform sex acts with the girl, and then traveled to an undercover house to meet the women. He was arrested with condoms, chocolate pudding and honey in his possession, police said.

Bryan Allen Woodward, 29 and the head swim coach of the Gator Swim Club in Florida, was arrested after he told an undercover cop that, "younger girls turn me on," discussed graphic sex acts and brought M&Ms with him to meet the person he thought was a 14-year-old girl, police reports state. He told cops he worked with more than 200 children, most of whom were under 18, according to his arrest affidavit.

Nine students were also charged, including one high school student and one student of the Golf Academy of America.

Alexander Roy, a 32-year-old eighth grade math teacher in Port St. Lucie, Fl., was arrested after he traveled to Kissimmee, Fla., to meet with what he believed was a 30-year-old woman and her 13-year-old daughter to engage in sexual acts, the affidavit states.

Many other individuals, all of whom were men, were arrested in the sting operation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jerry Sandusky's Interview: 'Punch in the Stomach' to Victims

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Accused child sex offender Jerry Sandusky proclaimed his innocence in his first extensive on-camera interview this weekend, sparking outrage from alleged victims and leaving many wondering why he is making himself so public.

"The way he helps himself is by communicating in the way…that predatory sex offenders relate their crimes, through cognitive distortion…a way a defender relates about his actions to another that sounds convincing but denies, justifies, rationalizes and minimalizes in such a way to say, 'nothing to see here, move on,'" said Dr. Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant and a forensic psychiatrist.

Sandusky, who was an assistant to college football coaching icon Joe Paterno for 46 years, defended himself against sexual abuse allegations in a New York Times interview.

"These allegations are false, I didn't do those things," Sandusky told the Times. "I'm not the monster everyone made me out to be. I didn't engage in sexual acts."

Sandusky, who also ran a charity for disadvantaged youth called Second Mile, has been charged with molesting eight boys over the course of 15 years. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 13.

Jo Becker, the New York Times reporter who interviewed Sandusky said "he made admissions that prosecutors will, I'm sure, pay some attention to."

Lawyers for one of the alleged victims said the former Penn State assistant coach's interview with the Times goes "a long way toward corroborating the victims' accounts and further expanding the web of liability" in the sexual abuse scandal.

"He admits he 'wrestled' and showered alone with boys, gave them gifts and money, and travelled with them. Surprisingly, Sandusky's interview also revealed that, to this day, Penn State has not taken away Sandusky's keys to the football locker room where so much of the abuse occurred," the statement read.

Welner said he finds the evidence against Sandusky compelling.

"They had a discussion in this interview about barriers. There are no barriers. Sexual assault is a process. It's the end point of a process of grooming. It didn't just happen, he orchestrated it, and yet to see that interview, you would think that it just happened, and it's up to you as a jury or audience to see whether it's illegal or not," said Welner.

The attorney for one alleged victim called the interview "a punch in the stomach."

The attorney for another victim called the interview "disturbing."

"Once again, Jerry Sandusky has chosen to provide the national media with an entirely unconvincing denial and a series of bizarre explanations," said Andrew Shubin, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims in the case.

"If he had any compassion for his victims or our community, he would immediately accept responsibility for his behavior, express remorse for the pain he has caused, and spare the victims, their families, and our community further trauma," Shubin said.

Sandusky claimed that some victims were "drawn into this" and talks about the "positive" things he did for them.

"This type of delusional rationalization is classic in these kinds of cases. Pedophiles often horribly mischaracterize the abuse they perpetrate as something that their victims sought or benefitted from," Shubin said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio