Ok, let me state clearly: for regular lay people to talk about "Spiritual Father" this, "Spiritual Father" that is just ridiculous and should be met with roaring laughter from the less pious. That's why I said that crooks like this priest operate much better in an environment where the expectations are for them to be some sort of life-coach/sacramental oprah/guru/starets/elder/geronda/monkabee and when their p[arishioners see nothin wrong about these things to begin with, whereas in more "nominal" whatever, less fervent communities where priests act like some sort of petty bureaucrat/medicine man it would be harder. In Romania all similar cases I can think of, involved you know, charismatic and traditionalist types.
He did not establish an autocratic aura of a guru/geronda, he was a father and very informal about it. Furthermore he was at the complete disposal of the parish. He worked 24/7 visiting the sick, doing more services than most churches, answering calls, relationship counseling, inquirer classes, taking peoples prayer requests to St. John in San Francisco, it goes on and on. I have no car and he coordinated rides with numerous people to get me to Church and before I left he drove me all the way out to Platina to speak with the monks whose writings brought me into the Church (DTTW) and pay my respects to Blessed Fr. Seraphim Rose. He never molested me, though he made offhand comments that were extremely out of character and crude, that I shrugged off in my naivety as tactless veteran speech. If he had done something I would have reported him immediately
likely after punching him in the face.
The problem here is not spiritual fatherhood, which is in the Bible and an intrinsic part of Christianity. The problem is that he betrayed it, and we were all naive. There should be training to make sure these things don't happen, and parents should never assume that it could never happen with their Priest. He even told me that a Priest shouldn't even allow himself to be alone with a woman or child lest people get the wrong idea. I learned a lot from him, because you can still learn a lot from a hypocrite.
In retrospect, I think he worked himself half to death to make up for his sins in some way. No, this doesn't justify anything, that's just my thoughts.