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Question Title Posted By Question Date
RE: Father Benedict Groeschel Hope Friday, August 31, 2012


I thank you for having mercy on me and dedacting the second part of the paragraph. I broke one of my cardinal rules and reacted/responded when i was still angry. I was seeing red all day and should have waited until today to send in my comments/questions.

I am very protective of my clients, out of compassion, but also because no one protected them as children, leading them to feel they were to blame and worthless. About 80% of my clients went to an adult that they trusted and told about the sexual abuse, and either were not believed or were told to keep it quiet. The rest didn't tell because they were too scared, ashamed, humiliated, couldn't trust adults close to them, or took on the responsibility of not wanting to hurt their family. (I have never seen an adult that suffered from childhood sexual abuse, who was believed and protected, in therapy. This says that those children who are believed and protected do not carry most of their pain into adulthood) 99% of rape victims, whether they are children or adults, already struggle with self-blame and humiliation.... but then society, criminal courts, friends and family compound this by victim blaming.

I do not know Father Benedict Groeschel and should have not have made those statements. It was wrong. And i completely agree with you that you should always give someone the benefit of the doubt, particularly when you do not know all of the details. As a human being, it is very difficult not to judge individuals who hurt the innocent. But this correspondence has reminded me that i should pray not only for the victim but also the perpetrator.

I would like to ask a few questions about the schizm between the Eastern Orthodox church and the Roman Catholic church, but i will use the "Defending the Faith" forum.

Thank you for your authoritative response, patience, and mercy.

God Bless

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r)

Dear Hope:

We can all find ourselves making bad decisions when we are emotionally involved or emotionally reacting. It is part of the human condition. What is significant is that you realized your mistake and corrected it. That is a mark of both psychological and spiritual maturity.

Let me make it clear so there is no misunderstanding. Father Groeschel has never placed a child in jeopardy. His work with priests was to try to help them to overcome their predilections, which is a good work since most sex offenders will be out of prison someday. He has never advocated anything that would place any child at risk.

I recognize that when we are talking about those most vulnerable, such as children, emotions can be very high, but we cannot allow emotions to cloud the objective facts. The facts are that many molesters were molested themselves. Others have a variety of other psychological problems that needs attending. Technically, not every one who molests a child is a pedophile, hebephile, or ephebophile, three distinct diagnostic conditions, all of which are grounded in the person's preference for the particular age-group rather than to an adult partner. Some molest a child without a preference for children and thus they do not have any of the paraphilias. These troubled individuals are usually one-time offenders whose offense was environmentally and circumstantially such that lended itself to the person's emotional breakdown. These people need psychiatric care and with that care will be extremely unlikely to offend again. 

Many offenders were victims themselves and need our prayers and help. There is an alarming percentage of children who were molested by their babysitters. Most molesting, however, comes from family members and friends of the family. The lowest percentage of molesters come from strangers.

My own daughters were molested by friends of my ex-wife. When my ex-wife abandoned the kids one time, and before I could come get them, the girls were molested in a County Children's Home. 

The highest percentage of molestation by professionals is not the clergy or teachers, but with the mental health profession. One study found that psychiatrists, psychologies, and social workers, in that order, but together represented 66% of all molestation by professionals. clergy (all clergy of any stripe) was 11% (the same as social workers).

But, the largest percentage of perpetrators remains family members and family friends.

Another myth is that "once a sex offender, always a sex offender." The propaganda we hear from from the media and even law enforcement, who should know better, is that a sex offender will certainly re-offend. That is a bald-face lie. Every study I have seen since 1970, including studies found today on the Department of Justice website, show that once a sex offender is released from prison, he or she is less likely to re-offend than any other ex-con.

Now, not all sex offenders are alike. Some are more likely to re-offend than others, but overall sex offenders have less recidivism than other criminals. Most states now have a multi-tiered system to assess risk. Nebraska's system make the most sense. They have three, or maybe it is five, levels. Level 1 offenders are least like to re-offend and their names are not included in public online sex-offender lists. Level 2 offenders are also not on the public online sex-offender lists, but the police will notify schools and daycare centers of the person's move into the area. Only Level 3 offenders are placed on the online sex-offender lists as being the most likely to re-offend.

While other states have the tiered system, I am not sure any other state restricts inclusion on the public lists to Level 3 offenders. Some states place an offender on the sex offender registry for life (which I believe is unconstitutional), others for about 10 years, which is reasonable.

In any event, we must avoid approaching this in a manner of a Scarlet Letter. Some states have proposed that, such as sex offenders having a special license plate or the requirement to place a large sign on their house. 2000 residency laws are in effect in many states. Law Enforcement almost unanimously says that this approach is not useful and protects no one.

While an emotional response may be in favor of such actions, this is not the way to go. If we were to do that then we need to have a Scarlet Letter law for drug dealers who do far more damage to more children than sex offenders.

Concerning any criminal, the fact is that 98% of all prisoners will be released from prison someday. Only 2% die in prison or are in for life. Thus, since nearly all prisoners will be released and may become our next door neighbor, it behooves us to support measures of prison reform that will facility human dignity that belongs to all human being no matter what they have done, and to provide services to help offenders, sexual or otherwise, to overcome the circumstances and reasons they became offenders.

Scarlet Letter laws and open registry laws even for Level 1 offenders, and given that sex offenders are the least likely to re-offend than any other ex-con, not only makes no sense as such laws protect no one, but actually make it more likely that the person will re-offend because he is outcast and thereby without the support needed to live a good life from now on.

None of this diminishes the horror of the child who is abused, but we must also recognize that it is to society's benefit to understand the dynamics of the offender and to address that. 

It is only with a holistic approach that we can hope to stave off the alarming statistics of sex crimes. This also means changing society, since our society is infiltrated with sex, and even more to the point, infiltrated by sex with children. From beauty contests for 4 year olds to the fashions teenagers wear, to the movies and TV where sex is shoved down our throats and is where many of our kids learn about sexual ethics (such as sex is okay on the third date).

This is a systemic problem that touches all of society, personal moral values, psychological health, and spiritual health.

I have worked with several woman who were sexually abused in satanic rituals as early as 4 years old. Many of these girls become multiple personalities, and many become demonized. They are so hurt physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The degree of their hurt makes it almost impossible for me, as the counselor, to even listen to them. I just want to run out of the room to escape the unimaginable pain to which they suffer. But, I do not do that of course. Some of these women and men do heal, and sometimes their forgiveness of their perpetrators brings the perpetrator to repentance. I am referring to an actual case of two girls whose father was a Satanist. He terribly abused them when they were girls. While many scars are present that will never go away, these girls worked through it all and came, as adults, to forgive their father. These two brave women were privileged to be present when their father, moments before his death, repented and confessed.

A healing is possible, but it mist start with forgiveness. Most people have a hard time with forgiveness because they really do not know what forgiveness entails. We have a brochure we hand out to our clients: Dealing with Bitterness and Unforgiveness that has helped thousands.

I am sure I will get hate mail from this post. But, emotional hysteria and hatred will not help the children, and in fact it further hurts them in the long run. It is only with compassion to all parties, the victims and the abusers, and coming to our Lord God, that we can begin to heal as a society and thereby, perhaps, eventually find fewer sex offenses. At least that can be our prayer.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary





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