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  Home :: 2007 March :: Sins of the Father
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

March 8, 2007

Sins of the Father


Headline New AnchorThomas Roberts reveals his personal account of the abuse he suffered atthe hands of a Roman Catholic priest in an hour-long special thisMonday. Roberts discusses his journey to overcome the scars and bringhis abuser to justice on "Anderson Cooper 360°," Monday, March 12 at 10p.m. ET.

Story below from  the Baltimore Examiner --
Forthe first time on camera, CNN Headline News anchor Thomas Robertsdiscusses his sexual abuse at the hands of Calvert Hall chaplain"Father Jeff" Toohey. The interview airs Monday night on CNN's"Anderson Cooper 360."

BALTIMORE- To Pat Goles, it was divine intervention. His son Michael had facedthe Baltimore Catholic community's damnation after making sexual abusecharges in 1993 against popular Calvert Hall chaplain "Father Jeff"Toohey. Then, in 2004, his son, who remained troubled and unvindicated,got a phone call from a man only several blocks away in Atlanta. He hadjust come forth with similar allegations.

The second man, CNN HeadlineNews anchor Thomas Roberts, was a previous Toohey victim. Roberts talksextensively on camera for the first time about the sexual abuse hesuffered at Calvert Hall on "Anderson Cooper 360" Monday night.

In an hour-long segment,Roberts, 34, discusses the abuse - emotionally at times - which he saidtook place from 1987 to 1990. He reveals the struggle to overcome thepsychological damage, including a suicide attempt, and the decision toultimately come forward and press charges with Goles.

"It's probably the worstplace you can be in your life," Roberts says at one point in a previewreviewed by The Examiner. "There's shame. There's self-hatred,self-doubt. Every mixed-up emotion you can have, and you don't feel youcan talk to anybody."

Toohey pleaded guilty toabusing Roberts in February 2006 and was sentenced to five years inprison, but served less than 10 months before being released into homedetention.

After his parents splitup when he was in seventh grade, Roberts says he slowly withdrew,struggling in school and failing to get into the high school of hischoice, Calvert Hall. His mother, Michelle, brought her son to Tooheyfor guidance. The priest got him a placement at the Towson privateschool.

Roberts kept his secret to himself for a decade and a half, even as Michael Goles was vilified publicly for his accusations.

"I still couldn't stand up for this kid," Roberts says.

But eventually he did, asking for Goles' name and phone number from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

And last year, both mentestified in Annapolis in support of legislation that would extend thestatute of limitations to file civil claims against sexual predators.That right ends when the victim turns 25. Senate Bill 575, introducedthis year, would create a one-year window of opportunity for victims tofile civil lawsuits.

"The call from Thomaschanged Michael's life," said Pat Goles, a Catholic deacon in Bel Air."It changed both their lives. We believed Michael all along, but nowthey both knew someone else believed them, too, and understood whatthey had been through."


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia