NEW YORK (CBS Connecticut/AP) — A top Catholic priest is claiming that some teenage boys seduced priests in sexual abuse cases.

Father Benedict Groeschel, 78, told the National Catholic Register in an interview published this past week that teenage boys could sometimes play the “seducer” toward a priest.

“Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him,” Groeschel said to the Catholic Register. “A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

When the Catholic Register questioned him about the comment, Groeschel explained that it was an “understandable thing.”

“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.

The friar’s comments come after Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia was recently convicted of felony child endangerment. Lynn became the first U.S. church official sent to prison for his handling of abuse complaints. He is appealing his three- to six-year sentence.

Groeschel – who is the director of the Office of Spiritual Development of the New York Archdiocese – hosts the weekly religious show “Sunday Night Prime” on EWTN. He obtained his doctorate in psychology from Columbia University and helped form the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal 25 years ago.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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