In Foley's case, I can only guess at what drove him to such sexual offending.
Mark, an alter boy at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in his hometown of Lake Worth, was abused by a parish priest. Father Antony Mercieca, a trusted authority figure, admitted sexually abusing mark from age thirteen to age fifteen.
In several interviews reported by the press, Mercieca described the offenses in terms that indicate has denial and justification of his behaviors. "We were friends," he said, "and trusted each other as brothers and loved each other as brothers. it was not what you call intercourse... there was no rape or anything... maybe light touches here and there." In another interview, Mercieca reported, "He seemed to like it, you know? So it was sort of more like a spontaneous thing." In yet another interview, he talked about a number of sexual encounters that "Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate," such as "massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth, and being naked in the same room on overnight trips."
As of October 25, 2006, Mercieca faced further accusations of sexual abuse by another alter boy, who was twelve at the time of his alleged abuse.
As we have already explored, denial, distorted thinking, and justification are a large part of the addictive cycle. In his statements, Mercieca indicates he is unable to comprehend his offenses and the damage they caused his victim. he speaks of intimacy, friendship, and trust, thus demonstrating his delusion.
A common pattern for sexual offenders is the grooming of their victims, meaning they lure them into sexual traps. They are highly skilled at building trust with the children; techniques include engaging in common interests, offering advice, and seeming to care and emotionally support the children. In the offender's mind, these acts are rarely in ever spontaneous; they are usually planned and executed in a premeditated, systematic pattern. The offender's grooming techniques can be very confusing to the child, and they most assuredly result in feelings of extreme betrayal.
The child who is seduced into the offender's trap sees the authority figure as caring, loving, and concerned. He likes the attention and believes that the groomer's intentions are sincere. Before he knows it, he is being sexually abused. Sexuality becomes traumatically associated with betrayal and terror. A lifelong scar is made.
In in the offender's web, the child bonds with the illusion of a trusted confidant. At the onset of the abuse, the victim experiences profound confusion: "This is my friend. He cares about me, and friends who care shouldn't hurt me." Victims internalize the problem as being about them rather than the offender: "I must deserve this. This must be a good thing; there is something wrong with me for not liking it." The confusion is further compounded by the physical pleasure (the body responds no matter the source of stimulation and is unable to discern "good" from "bad" touch). But emotionally, the child feels afraid and confused. His or her reality becomes distorted as the youngster leans to doubt him of herself. This distrust and distortion of reality are the birth of the shame core, the bed in which all addictions are born.