Thursday, March 08, 2007
Preview video: 'Sins of the Father'

In this video clip, Headline News Anchor Thomas Roberts discusses hearing the Catholic priest who sexually abused him as a teenager admit his guilt. The clip comes from an hour-long special report that will air on "Anderson Cooper 360" on Monday, March 12 at 10 p.m. ET, called "Sins of the Father."
Posted By CNN: 2:48 PM ET
Thomas Roberts is a brave man for being so open in talking about this. It's one thing for anyone to talk about, but a news guy to talk about it when they don't really have to is extra big. I look forward to watching the report, and I know that Mr. Roberts will be treated with the respect he deserves. It's a discussion that I'm sure he woudl rather not have had but I'm glad he is willing to share it with the world. Only when we udnerstnad the problem will it be "solved" or curbed. That's for the church and for those like Couey.
Posted By Anonymous Marcy, Mobile, AL : 3:18 PM ET
I admire Thomas Roberts for coming out and talking about this. Hopefully his honesty and openness will encourage others to tell if this is happening or has happened to them. I hope he has found peace within himself and is able to move on with his life. Can't wait to see the show on Monday.
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 3:34 PM ET
I don't know if it was a conscience act or not, but Thomas seemed to talk about this experience as if it happened to another person, a child, he felt he must defend. As I watched the clip I could see the pain in the eyes of Thomas and his mother Michelle even after all these years. Ms. Roberts has every right to feel the way she does. This priest stole something precious from Thomas and his family that can never be replaced. It is a disgrace that he served such a short sentence.

I have always watched Thomas on "Headline News;" his admission last Septemeber that he was gay had no effect on the quality of his work or the way I felt about him. I wish him all the best.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 3:47 PM ET
I'm not sure if it's politically correct to ask this... but has there been a study that correlates the percentage of boys who were molested and then 'turned' out to be gays 'later' in life? Whether or not they consciously remember the sexual abuse?

It just seems logical that these boys would be so traumatized and confused about their sexuality during and soon after the attacks that it would imprint them with such strong ambivalent feelings (did it feel good, bad, exciting, horrible, etc.?). Will these boys eventually feel that it was 'natural' for them to feel excitement and pleasure with the same sex partner soon after the event(s)?

In short, can these events become a vicious cycle? Is it possible that Thomas Roberts might be straight today if the event(s) never happened?
Posted By Anonymous Chris O. Chicago, IL : 6:05 PM ET
I have a question for Thomas. Did he always know he was gay or did the molestation experience play a role in his sexuality?
Posted By Anonymous Bill Summers, College Station, Tx : 6:16 PM ET
I'm tired of hearing about all these so-stated victims "coming out of the closet" post unsaintly priesthood acts; why wasn't this addressed at the time...could it be more of a compensation issue, as opposed to finding closure and forgiveness on their part?
Posted By Anonymous Pat M., Beaverton, OR : 6:17 PM ET
This sounds like a wonderful program, and I imagine that many adult survivors of child sexual abuse will be encouraged by Mr. Roberts, who shows us all once again that there should be no stigma or shame by speaking about his abuse.

However, I would have preferred it if you didn't call this "Sins of the Father" and yesterday's show "Monster Next Door." Using such captions, clearly worded to catch attention and shock, really cheapen the often excellent reporting, especially when accompanied by the melodramatic music and announcer/news reporter voices. Aren't these stories dramatic enough that you don't need to package them in a way that lessens their importance by making them seem tabloid-y???

Here is a listing of info for adult survivors:

Information for parents and educators on child abuse, including child sex abuse:
www. and use "child abuse" (in "" marks) as search term.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Keep our kids safe!
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 6:28 PM ET
The abuse of power by Roman Catholic priests and the church hierarchy which helped to cover up this abuse for so many years is something which should never be forgiven. They caused so much harm to so many innocent children.

And perhaps worst of all, these priest always zeroed in on the children who were most vulnerable, those who were previously abused like Thomas Roberts or those children from psychologically damaged homes.

Thomas Roberts is to be commended for speaking out about this and even though the psychological scars of this abuse will always be a part of him, he has shown it is possible to move on and be successful in life.

The best revenge is a life well lived and I wish Thomas Roberts the very best in life.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 6:53 PM ET

Thomas Roberts serves as an example of what the human condition can overcome, inspite of adversity and a very private painful experience, Thomas has demonstrated courage and honesty. This can only have the positive effect of helping others.

Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose Ca : 7:33 PM ET
I can't even begin to imagaine the hell that Thomas must have lived through for years. That he was able to come forward after all these years shows the incredible inner strength that he has.

I greatly admire him and hope that once everyone sees the show, the public do so also.
Posted By Anonymous Jodi, Calgary, Canada : 8:06 PM ET
I'm grateful for Thomas Roberts and his family's courage to share his story with the world and for Anderson Cooper's guts to expose the Roman Catholic Church's neglect of its most innocent members. Maybe hearing this story will help those impacted by abuse to heal in their own journies of recovery. Maybe hearing it will prevent another child from being harmed. Maybe one day the Vatican will honestly own what it has done to countless children and their loved ones.

Monsters in Roman collars, stoles, and much more sickening of a bedtime story can you get than that?
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 8:21 PM ET
Thomas R. you're such a strong and brave man! especially your heart,you're standing out for others, keep up the same spirit.
Posted By Anonymous Keira P. Boston, Ma : 9:21 PM ET
Abuse of power at any level can disrupt the integrity of any organization. When one's belief system is violated, especially in areas where faith and spirituality are involved, sacraments become sacrilegious and the word sanctuary becomes sanctimonious repertoire for safety and security.
Posted By Anonymous Wayne Palm Springs, Ca. : 12:31 AM ET
I have read some other comments and would just like to add some words. First of all, I want to express my deep regret that such a thing has happened and I wish that Mr. Thomas finds the strength and support necessary to overcome such horrible experience. Second, I want to say as well that, even if I totally reject such behaviors, I happen to love the Catholic church and I try to follow its teachings. The abuse situation is a terrible thing, but, even if there are many priests who have commited this, there are more than have been faithful to their vocation. I think that this is important in order to have a clear view of the whole situation so when condemning the abuse problems the people doesn�t condemn the Catholic Church as well.
Posted By Anonymous Ernesto, New York, New York. : 11:51 AM ET
I'm still waiting for the outrage on what looks like a pedohine ring operating in the Catholic church!
I was brought up in this church, went to school in Lexington, Ky and didn't know until I was an adult that the very priests shaking their fingers at me, telling me how to live my life, were child molesters. I lost a church and a way of life and now don't have a lot of trust in anyone.
My neighborhood child molester, was molested by two priest that were at my church!
Posted By Anonymous Rose Gatton, Madison Alabama : 2:19 PM ET

I ran the playback on "Sexual Predators" today and there WAS one thing I wanted to ask. I stand by my original post but want to say: THE GREEN LICENSE PLATES ARE,IN MY OPINION ABOUT AS USELESS AS IT CAN GET. WHAT KEEPS THE PREDATOR FROM DRIVING A DIFFERENT CAR? USING A STOLEN PLATE OR CAR?



Have a great weekend!

Thanks, Maggie
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 2:41 PM ET
FYI, Thomas also went the priest for help because he was questioning his sexuality so the abuse didn't turn him gay. Here is a quote from the news report

"Toohey, 59, a former Roman Catholic priest and Calvert Hall chaplain, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually abusing Roberts after his mother asked the priest to counsel her then-14-year-old son, who was struggling with his parents' divorce and questions about his sexuality."
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Kent WA : 3:29 PM ET
Most of the comments here are shocking. What are all these questions about the future sexuality of the abused children. A lot of you seem to think that the pedophiles are gay (one of you speaks about a vicious circle?) Let me explain several things : there are 3 sexual orientations : hetero/homo and pedophile sexuality. The first 2 ones are legal, the 3rd is regarded as child abuse and is punished by law. Many pedophiles will never have sex with children because they are aware of the consequences for them and the children. They like to be with children, to take care of them. Thus, some of them become priests or teachers. But there is no cure of course : it�s like if you would like to change an hetero into a gay or conversely. So they will live their whole life with that.
Of course, when a child has been abused, his sexual life may be disturbed, whatever he becomes (gay or hetero). And if he becomes gay, is it bad???
Last thing, I think the vicious curiosity of some comment writers comes from 2 facts : either they want to put the fault on Thomas R to save the Church or they are not clear about their own sexuality.
Posted By Anonymous Rodolphe, San Diego, CA : 6:00 PM ET
To Steve Kent,

I honestly believe that during our tween years, boys and maybe girls look around their environs and try to sort out their feelings about themselves and others (sexuality most certainly included). Thomas Roberts was no exception in dealing with these thoughts at 14. He shares that question with 95% of the population (divorce of course complicates the issue because of possibility of having to choose who he should be with - when his parents do separate).
Posted By Anonymous Chris O. Chicago, IL : 6:11 PM ET
After receiving most of my preparatory education from private schools affiliated with christian dioceses, when the scandals involving Catholic preiests first came to my attention in the year of 1998, I had just visited a convent which was a branch of the church which was in charge of the all-girls' Catholic school I had attended at that time. It was a very hard lump to swallow because at that point I believed in the church profoundly and this level of betrayl was the last thing expected from the religious doctrine which circumvented most of my young life. Since then I have parted ways with the church, though not personally inflicted by the criminal acts of a few priests, the idea that it had ensued for so long un-noticed could not be cured by and euphamisms by spokespeople of the Vatican. Still to this day accountability and apologies of genuine reverance are yet to be seen. I look forward to the show to understand the implications of these criminal actions in the words of someone who was directly impacted by a man thought to be so devout.
Posted By Anonymous Ana A, Ocala FL : 6:28 PM ET
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