Behind Sacred Walls

The True Story of My Abuse by Catholic Priests

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Pub Date 21 Dec 2021 | Archive Date 13 Apr 2022
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Candid Memoir, Behind Sacred Walls Tells a Young Man’s Truth of Predatory Abuse by Catholic Priests He Trusted

Behind Sacred Walls: The True Story of My Abuse by Catholic Priests By Michael Roberts

The clergy abuse scandals have been exposed for several decades with the Catholic Church denying the claims and/or secretly paying victims to hush these sexual atrocities from their congregants. The accused priests almost never get arrested or go to trial, and the victims are left to deal with the abuse for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, the media and filmmakers have brought the Catholic Church’s dirty secret out into the light with documentaries and films such as Procession, Spotlight, Doubt, By the Grace of God and Primal Fear. Recently, the trial for Fr. Mark Hession in Massachusetts made the headlines as it wouldn’t have been prosecuted, if not for the parishioners at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who spoke out about the inappropriate, predatory behaviors they witnessed at the hands of this abusive priest.

Now another hero comes forward to tell his story about the abuse and manipulation he experienced as a teenager by several Catholic priests. In his new memoir, Behind Sacred Walls: The True Story of My Abuse by Catholic Priests, Michael Roberts tells a very candid story about the years of abuse he endured by the very priests he trusted because of his devout Catholic upbringing. These priests were welcomed into his home. They have eaten many meals with his family. They were a trusted and respected part of Michael’s life. For the first time ever, Michael Roberts explains what happened to him and how he felt powerless to break away from the abuse. Even when he finally gathered the courage to report the abuse to a trusted priest, he was sexually abused by that “man of God,” too. Roberts discusses how his own allegations were handled by the Catholic Church, and what happened to the priests involved.

In Behind Sacred Walls, Michael Roberts talks frankly about:

• Living a devout catholic family lifestyle

• As a teenager, having a man of God take interest in him

• Manipulation at the hands of trusted priests

• Navigating his sexuality prior to, during and after abuse

• The Catholic Doctrine of Mental Reservation

• The accused, his protectors and a trial that never happened

* His family’s reactions to him telling his truth

• The state of his religious beliefs now

• Therapy for victims of sexual abuse by the clergy

• Moving forward …

About Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts is the author of Behind Sacred Walls. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, religion played an important part in his development. Growing up as part of a catholic family in an all-American small town not only informed his belief system but created the perfect conditions for him to be groomed and later abused by several priests. The added layers of religious shame and the fear of his family finding out that he was homosexual were factors in the physical and psychological abuse he suffered at the hands of priests. His nearly ten years of abuse was all under the eye and institutionalized cover-up by high members of the Church.

Roberts fought alone against this centuries-old, untouchable institution in search of some form of repair and taking the reins of his own destiny. He completed his college education, graduating from a prestigious university with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science.

His book is a cathartic, cautionary tale about blind faith, broken trust, and the loss of innocence of a young man trying to survive the deepest betrayal and trauma.
Roberts has worked as an environmental technician and as a sales and marketing manager for a biotech company that makes implements to pharmaceutical research to develop drugs. Roberts has also worked as a model in Paris, Rome, and the United States. He has appeared in television commercials and numerous print ads and catalogs, as well as runway shows.

Roberts is married to his partner, Johnathan, with whom he enjoys traveling around the world. Roberts future plans include volunteer work in wildlife conservation to help save endangered species.

Candid Memoir, Behind Sacred Walls Tells a Young Man’s Truth of Predatory Abuse by Catholic Priests He Trusted

Behind Sacred Walls: The True Story of My Abuse by Catholic Priests By Michael Roberts


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National publicity campaign

25 Podcast Interviews confirmed

20 Satellite Radio Interviews confirmed 

National and Regional interviews

Book reviews

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EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781950091539
PRICE $21.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
More and more people are bravely writing about their experiences of abused by Catholic priests. This book is a bit different than the others because this author was abused as a late teenager and that abuse continued into his 20s. It's scary to read about how this priest manipulated and brainwashed Michael into thinking the priest was helping him and that he was the only one who would ever love him and not use him. These disgusting predators really know how to find the most vulnerable people as their prey. It's horribly sad to know that Michael didn't know who to turn to for help and yet when he did try to get help, those people that were supposed to help him did not. Even as an adult and trying to battle the Catholic church really was an uphill battle.

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What a great book! A true story about abuse that took place within the Catholic Church. What a courageous person this young man is to tell his truth. Definitely would recommend.

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This memoir tells the story of a young man's decades-long struggle to remove himself from a brutally abusive relationship with his catholic priest. The priest groomed the author, Michael Roberts, starting when he was a teenager and a member of his parish. The priest forced his way into Michael's family and was seen as a mentor by his parents when really he sexually, mentally and physically abusing their son. The priest had two personas and easily convinced people that he was a kind and caring leader in his community, when in reality he was a stealing, lying, sexually promiscuous, abusive alcoholic who took advantage of people, especially young boys.

One of the ways that the priest abused and controlled Michael was by manipulating elements of the Catholic religion to his advantage. Michael grew up in a devout Catholic family who revered religious leaders and believed homosexuality was a sin. The priest took advantage of this by using his sexual desires and power differential to convince Michael to be complicit in sexual acts and then used those acts as blackmail or a threat to out him to his parents as gay. Michael tried to strike up a positive relationship with someone in his community who was well known and liked and should be a mentor and caregiver, but was taken advantage of and abused in several ways. As a result of this abusive relationship Michael was not able to have healthy romantic or platonic relationships, was raped and abused by several of the priest's friends, and struggled to financially support himself. While there are many gruesome parts to this story, arguably the worst is when Michael finally comes forward about his abuse and is completely ignored by several members of the church, including one who listened to his report and then went on to rape him. This memoir brought the deeply rooted problems and denial of the Catholic church into broad daylight.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this tremendous memoir. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Catholic abuse scandal and first person accounts of abusive relationships and the impact these relationships have on the victim's life.

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