Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Headline News’ Thomas Roberts Discusses Priest Abuse on Anderson Cooper 360º

CNN Pressroom - Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts reveals for the first time on television his personal account of the abuse he suffered at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest during Anderson Cooper 360º on Monday, March 12. For a powerful and sometimes wrenching hour, Roberts discusses the abuse by Father Jerome F. Toohey Jr., known as “Father Jeff,” from 1987 to 1990 and his journey to overcome the scars and bring his abuser to justice.

Prosecutors in Maryland pressed charges against Toohey for sexually abusing Roberts. Toohey pleaded guilty and was sentenced in February 2006 for five years in prison. After serving less than 10 months he was released into home detention to serve the rest of his sentence.

“Sins of the Father” airs at 10 p.m. (ET) during the first hour of Anderson Cooper 360°.

Below are excerpts from “Sins of the Father" courtesy of Anderson Cooper 360°.

Roberts on the abuse:

It's probably the worst place you can be in your life. Because there's so much shame that goes along with this. There's secrecy. There's shame. There's self-hatred, self-doubt. Uh, every mixed up emotion you can have that you don't feel you can talk to anybody. It was the most twisted and turned-around environment that I could have ever have been in and coming from a place of struggle as a child and into a young boy. It was a prison. I mean it was like backing me into a corner with nowhere to go.

I was robbed here. Of my self-respect, of my own image. You know part of my soul even. This place paralyzed me thinking I would die with this secret. I would die with this secret.

Roberts on the judicial system:

I don't know how to define justice in this. What's justice? I mean, what . . . do I get early release from this? No. You don't get early release from knowing what happened to you. Do you get early release from the shame and the secrets and the lies and the cover-up and all of that? You just don't. You just have to deal with the fact that that was your life. You did it, you had to put up with it to survive, and it'll be your story for the rest of your life. No early release from this story.
Roberts on seeing Toohey in church:

I thought how people respected him. I thought how people really looked up to this man. Even--not even understanding what was happening to me, you still have respect for this man in this position as your priest. And I realized also that he had the power, not me.

Anderson Cooper 360° is a wide-ranging, unconventional news program that takes a full 360-degree look at the world’s events. The program showcases CNN’s worldwide newsgathering capabilities as well as Anderson Cooper’s unique sensibilities and perspective through a diverse range of live reports and interviews. Anderson Cooper 360° airs on CNN/U.S. each weekday from 10 p.m. to midnight. (ET)

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; four Web sites, including, the first major news and information Web site; CNN Pipeline,’s premium live video news service; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and partnerships for four television networks and two Web sites.

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Blogger Patrick said...

I was in Tom's class for 4 years at Calvert Hall but I haven't seen him since then. I knew Tom very little but he knew me and I knew him. We would hangout in Father Jeff's office with other students occasionally but I never noticed anything unusual.
I knew Father Jeff since I was in 1st grade. He then became chaplain at Calvert Hall and I also went to "The Hall". My family has known him for probably 30 years. He was there for us in a very dark time when my father died in my senior year at Calvert Hall and never once did I ever get a "vibe" that he thought of or was capable of any abuse or inappropriate conduct. In no way am I trying to downplay the suffering and trauma that Mr. Roberts and Mr. Goles have wrongly endured but Father Jeff has always treated me with respect and kindness. However, I'm not sure if I could ever be in Father Jeff's company ever again because of these despicable actions.
I wish Tom and Mike the best and hope they can somehow move on with their lives

4:34 PM  

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