Tom Arnold Says He Was Sexually Abused
Comic actor Tom Arnold, who plays a child molester in the new movie Gardens of the Night, says he was molested by a male babysitter as a child.
Arnold told People the abuse occurred when he was between the ages of 4 and 7, and that he wore the same style of clothes as his babysitter in the film.
Asked why he would take on the role, Arnold says, "It was a tough choice. I was a smart kid, and he still got to me. So I wanted to portray a pedophile in a way no one has seen before in order to explain how these things can happen."
Arnold said his babysitter molested him by asking to play a game, then used candy and fear to keep him quiet. He said he knew what was happening was "weird ...but I didn't know what sex was."
"He gave me a candy bar at the end of the game," Arnold tells People. "I wasn't allowed to have candy at my house, and I felt ashamed that I took the candy. And I was afraid of him. The message was clear he would hurt my dad if I told, and the thought of losing my dad was impossible."
After hiring a private investigator and confronting his babysitter when Arnold was 30, as well as filming Gardens, the actor says, "I'm ready to put this behind me ...I'm ready to take the chance to be with a good person, and hopefully one day have my own children. That's what I want more than anything."
Do you think Arnold is brave for coming forward with his abuse story?