Priest who Abused CNN’s Thomas Roberts Given Lighter Sentence

CNN Anchor Thomas Roberts expressed disappointment at a decision by Baltimore County Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II to approve a request from Roman Catholic priest Jerome F. Toohey Jr. to serve out the final eight months of an 18-month prison sentence for sexual abuse in home detention rather than in prison.

Thomasroberts_2Toohey pleaded guilty in 2005 to sexually abusing Roberts between 1987 and 1989 when Roberts was a student at Calvert Hall College High School, a Catholic school for boys. At that time, evidence from a previously dismissed suit by another former student, Michael Goles, was used to obtain a stricter sentence for Toohey. That sentence has all but been erased.

Said Roberts: “I was let down by a trusted system (the Roman Catholic church) years ago. I fear today that I will be let down again. This was a lenient sentence.”

Goles expressed dismay at the recent decision: “Thomas and I don’t get early release. We’re stuck with life sentences for what we suffered.”

Toohey, whose behavior his lawyer claimed was the “byproduct of severe alcoholism”, has been kept in solitary confinement because of threats of violence from other prisoners.

Roberts came out of the closet earlier this year at the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association conference in Miami.

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Comments

  1. Zeke says

    The church and the state don’t have the time or the energy to waste with such petty little things as child abuse and statutory rape when there are homosexuals out there trying to marry and have kids.

    Priorities people!

  2. RB says

    Michael Goles statement “Thomas and I don’t get early release. We’re stuck with life sentences for what we suffered” is so profound.

    It is absolutely unnacceptable that Toohey get ANY early release! I have no tolerance for ANYONE THAT WOULD HARM A CHILD!!! And a person of supposed authority and integrity that damages that bond of trust deserves a far greater punishment.

    Kids, even teenagers, should be able to develop without the harm of “trusted” adults. I cannot think of anything that angers me quicker than a child in distress at the hands of an adult! SHAMEFUL!!!

  3. RB says

    And yes, Thomas Roberts could almost convince me to actually watch Chicken Noodle News as he is extremely easy to look at. Just a totally unrelated thought, that’s all.

  4. Jack says

    I love Thomas Roberts. My wish to see more of him on this site came true. It’s made my day. Unfortunately not for him.

    Although I’ve never been in his situation I sympathize for him. It must be a heavy burden to carry around those thoughts and experiences. I hope he can somehow move on.

    Blind Item, how do you know he’s hung? And how hung is he? I know, I am totally in love with him that I will ask those questions.

  5. says

    I sympathize with both Roberts and the other victim. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to reconcile being let down by two separate systems twice in regards to such a heavy issue.

    I only catch CNN at the gym and I’ve never seen Roberts on. Anderson, however, is always on it seems (not that I’m complaining).

  6. Dan says

    Thomas Roberts in on HLN on the weekends only now. He occasionally fills in on Prime News Tonight and CNN Newsroom.

    I’m sorry this priest got early release, but he is old and I hope every parent knows to keep their kids away from him.

  7. ricardo says

    kind of reminds me of a cultural anthropology project that we were attempting in mexico (well, some of us), if you will, and they opted to throw in a caricature of gay man as being in guadalajara simply for latin cock. a tad bit boring….well, he actually was — fortunately a bit more local color flourished, yet, as in some recent cases….community?? glory holes and confessionals could be synonomous in certain cases of self-indulgence or tall tales.

    passed on a bit too much of the blah blah from the blah blah that’s been fed to some as healthy substance leading to much of anything beyond blah blah — an inspiring type of flu-bug. seems that pedophilia became the blah blah that was accepted or overlooked in some churches….acceptable behavior within the status quo — kind of like the local traipsing in the realm of colonial brits. all of the staunch blah-blah passes as something quite alright ‘ol chap. please don’t muddle the painting with your blah blah — and dear lord, what a happy thanksgiving it must have been to be on opposite sides of the atlantic….much as when one can find relations between the hemispheres of one’s brain. imagine.

  8. soulbrotha says

    As a victim of abuse myself, my heart goes out to Mr. Roberts.
    This is about more than justice because if the pedophile wasn’t a Catholic priest, he wouldn’t have received such a light sentence. This is about the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. And I have never heard of any of these pedophile priests being registered as sex offenders. Does that even happen?

  9. forreal says

    “The church and the state don’t have the time or the energy to waste with such petty little things as child abuse and statutory rape when there are homosexuals out there trying to marry and have kids.

    Priorities people!

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 11, 2006 6:04:00″

    OR When there are still Black Men both Guilty and Innocent that still haven’t been locked up!

  10. JoeInSF says

    The catholic church is even more ruthless than the bush administration when it comes to covering up and scapegoating its misdeeds. Just watch the powerful documentary “Deliver us from evil” for a primer on catholic church double-speak, seeing how the church sacrifices the well-being of children to protect its wayward cardinals and priests. Christ would be appalled!

  11. dave says

    “Christ would be appalled!” Hell, I’m appalled. Jack and Ricardo, I’m sensing that you have some issues around this topic. What ever they are, please get some help. We are talking about this man being violated.
    Thomas Roberts, I’m sorry to hear that the system is hurting you again.

  12. Patrick Eagan says

    Would someone tell Thomas Roberts, there is no money. He’ll have to sell his ass to another network and yes do the couch interview. Try CBC or CTV. On the other hand I don’t think any network would take him on as he is used meat. Kids, let’s face it the entire thing was between to males and NOT the catholic church and cnn.

    HELLO.

  13. gay is the new straight says

    Steve, Thomas told me last night that he knew he was gay before this happened, so no issue. Of course he was talking in his sleep! No, wait, that was me. And I was alone, dammit.

  14. JimmyJack says

    ” “The church and the state don’t have the time or the energy to waste with such petty little things as child abuse and statutory rape when there are homosexuals out there trying to marry and have kids.

    Priorities people!

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 11, 2006 6:04:00″

    OR When there are still Black Men both Guilty and Innocent that still haven’t been locked up!

    Posted by: forreal | Dec 12, 2006 12:13:11 AM”

    I swear this website has some of the best EVER comments. Do all Americans treat the issue of child abuse so lightly. It doesn’t even seem to just be priests that get away with it-I was watching Oprah and this guy who molested his 3 daighters was locked up for ONE NIGHT.

    As the pledge says:

    “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” …unless you’re gay, black, or sexually abused as a child

  15. Daniel says

    Jimmyjack, Americans definitely do not treat sexual abuse this lightly. Usually it’s treated in a completely histerical manner.

    Ricardo, I didn’t understand your post or your point at all.

    Steve, Patrick–what the? I don’t know what the Hell you two are on about.

    This whole thread has gone down a rabbit hole.

  16. cliff says

    Toohey is not old…the other two molesters that we had at Calvert Hall were at least 20 to 25 years older than him…one of them, Father Lawrence Brett, is still out there…he gave the authorities the slip about three years ago, down in the Caribbean…yes, the Catholic Church wields substantive influence and power…I was molested twice: once at Calvert Hall and once at a Monastery/Abbey, by a novice Benedictine Monk, in D.C., while on a weekend retreat…individuals like ourselves, have this with us the rest of our lives…the monk that molested me, had charges dropped (for a prior molestation due to lack of proof)…after he molested me, he was sent to his home in Florida, by the Abbot…I never had the nerve, (or the desire), to make my parents aware of what had happened to me, until a few years ago…too much shame, guilt and other feelings going on at the time (teenage years are hard enough to deal with)…and, I knew that I was gay at the time of the molestations, although, I didn’t categorize myself in that fashion…I just knew that I was different, and those around me knew it as well…it was something that I had never discussed with anyone until I reached my early twenties…my heart goes out to all those who were molested by the Christian Brothers and Priests at Calvert Hall.

  17. RP says

    Patrick, don’t be a douche.

    Steve, I’m sure Tom doesn’t “blame” Toohey for being gay. That’s absurd. From the few encounters I’ve had with him, he seems much too level headed for that kind of thinking.

    Cliff, you have my deepest sympathy.

  18. JimmyJack says

    Daniel,

    My point is not that Americans in general do not take this issue seriously, but that the American justice system does not seem to give significantly fitting punishments for such acts of child molestation. I am trying to say that I am not sure exactly why. Society as a whole obviously considers child abuse a serious issue, so why does the legal system not convey this? Unless you want to tell me that an 18 month sentence is fitting for over 2 years of abuse of a student you are supposed to be counselling.

    Although, I suppose people should not be surprised at the level of corruption in the Catholic Church; the Pope himself used to be the in charge of keeping cases of child molestation quiet from the public.

    And the Church is going to save MY soul?

  19. JimmyJack says

    BTW Zeke, I actually think your comment was funny. I was referring to the legal system not taking the issue seriously. I got the irony part.

    This is the last time I ever post.

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