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When the Roberts’ favorite priest, Father Gregory, started inviting himself to the family dinner table every week, they were delighted to oblige. When the priest began inviting their teenaged son, Michael, on day trips, they were even more pleased to see their son developing a close friendship with their beloved priest. What the family did not know was that Father Gregory was grooming Michael for what would become years of abuse.

In Behind Sacred Walls, Michael Roberts describes how he fell under the control of the priest who abused him verbally, emotionally, and sexually. A master manipulator preying on the teen’s trust, Father Gregory told him it was God’s will that that he satisfy the priest’s human needs. Even though Michael was riddled with shame and guilt, he saw no way out of the continuing abuse. Most of all, he feared the pain it would cause his parents if they found out.

Eventually able to extricate himself from his abuser, Michael Roberts now describes how he broke away from the priest’s control and sought justice, only to face years of frustration with the Catholic Church and its endless red tape.





Behind Sacred Walls is an autobiographical account of a teenage Catholic boy. The story follows the author through years of treachery, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of a cleverly-manipulative, ultimately-despicable, Catholic Priest.

The saga begins with a character study of an adolescent boy whose personal and family life is unduly guided by the dictates and dogma of the Catholic Church. Cultural norms were different at the time, and it was widely believed that to question the infallibility of the Church’s teachings or the demands of Christ’s vicars-on-Earth was sinful and would clearly result in a one-way ticket to Hell, Fire, and Damnation.

As the years of oppression and subjugation progress, we learn of the lies, thievery, subversion, collusion, arrogance, and unforgivable deeds primarily performed by one specific member of the clergy but endorsed and encouraged by many of his cult-like fellow priests.


Throughout his journey, our young protagonist is blackmailed, manipulated, molested, controlled, and publicly humiliated – all to satisfy the goal of a priest’s quest for prurient, sexual pleasure and personal aggrandizement. Normal boyhood friendships are forbidden, and the loss of parental love is a constant threat.

Ultimately, with the help of professional counseling, our young man gains a modicum of courage and challenges his oppressor by informing the Diocese Hierarchy. Sadly, his complaints fall upon deaf and indifferent ears, and a, seemingly endless, series of events in pursuit of retribution ensues.

This book chronicles the lengthy and agonizing, path for a young man’s justice and vindication that is often thwarted by the hypocritical, Holy Celebrants. Sadly, his feelings of anger and betrayal may never be completely assuaged; even though, the devious Diocese Hierarchy feels that the matter has been successfully adjudicated and settled. Let’s let the reader be the judge.


" It is impossible to stay quiet another day. For more than thirty years, I have been silent and emotionally enslaved with my story. The time has finally come for me to scream stridently to the world about the injustices I have suffered. My soul is desperate to breathe and make sense of life. A naïve teenage victim, mentally subjugated to a deviant priest who sexually exploited and conditioned me with his deranged, controlling domination.

I look at myself in the mirror. My identity…broken by nearly a decade of rape and psychological blackmail. Trapped in fear, powerless, anesthetized. My voice filled with anger, determined to be a messenger of veracity.


In that mirror, I see all the pain I suffered, forced to live with my tormenter for months in the rectory, after a devastating house fire destroyed my family’s home. I feel the sting of flashbacks: his despicable followers…all accomplices to his staged, mock-trial-by-jury, in a cold empty basement, with me as the defendant.

The devastating memories of his depraved, priest friends exploiting and violating me, feeding their lustful self-indulgences. Me, an innocent boy, exposed to a world of drugs, alcohol and theft. I was the unwitting victim of a secret, almost cult-like, underground, gay, liturgical brotherhood.

Betrayed by a corrupt Catholic Church hierarchy, turning their backs on their proven knowledge of these deviant acts, covering up information and using their archaic, doctrine of Mental Reservation to lie, distort and twist the truth.

Tears stream down my face, heartbroken, indignant, liberated. I need to be me again. I decide to break that mirror. Here is my truth..."

Michael Roberts



★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

A True Story Of Courage And Survival

Behind Sacred Walls is a real eye-opener about the system put by the Catholic Church to protect and therefore enable abusers for centuries, moving predators between parishes and doing everything in its powers to silence victims. It’s a heart-felt story about a naive all-American teenager that, after being groomed, became a true hostile in the hands of priests subject to psychological, physical and sexual abuse. It is a story that could have happened to any of our kids and for that reason a mandatory read for every single parent that has a relationship with the church. I’m sure it took the author all the courage in the world to tell his story and for that I have to congratulate him.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

A Thought-Provoking Book

Behind Sacred Walls is a thought-provoking, heart-breaking story about abuse in the Catholic Church. Many will be able to relate to the author’s journey even if they have never experienced that type of abuse as the healing of all types of abuse have some of the same things in common. Behind Sacred Walls shows just how little progress has been accomplished in the Catholic Church in a prolonged period of time. It highlights that the Church has a long way to go before its current and former parishioners can fully trust in it again. I personally was disgusted in how long it took for this author’s abuser to be handed down any type of real punishment. The Church must do better.

★★★★☆ 4 out of 5 stars.

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.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

Honest and Brave

Mr. Roberts gives a very brave account of his harrowing experiences of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests. If you have ever wondered how this could happen you need to read this book! Well written and fiercely honest - I applaud you Mr. Roberts for telling the truth. Must not have been easy.

Kelly Howes-Smith

Review posted at Goodreads

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

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.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

A Powerful Story of Courage

This book will enlighten everyone to the workings of the church. The lies, the cover-up, the deception, and most of all the horrific physical and emotional abuse. The book also details a secret doctrine called mental reservation. It’s stunning to learn about. The church has been using this doctrine for years to feel ok with the lies. Michael Roberts is a survivor and a warrior.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

Truth Be Told

A compelling recollection of the manipulation and deception that occurs within the Catholic institution and amongst it's "holy" representatives. Michael is a survivor and should be applauded for his courage to bring his difficult experiences to our attention.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars.

Behind Sacred Walls Unravels Truths and Offers Healiigs

Behind Sacred Walls is a poignant and courageous story that brings to light the hardened truth of the pervasive abuse that took place in the Catholic Church; It is told in such an intimate way that you feel the deep pain of one man's journey - from fear to strength and from pain to empowerment. Michael's story offers a way for some of us, who have experienced struggle, to find more acceptance, growth, and healing in our own way.

Media and Podcasts




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.







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