Out Broadway actor Andrew Rannells has revealed in his memoir that he was sexual assaulted as a teen by a Catholic priest during confession.
In an excerpt from the Girls and Book of Mormon star’s memoir Too Much Is Not Enough, published by Vulture, he details his experiences as an altar boy at his Jesuit high school in Omaha, Nebraska.
Rannells said he needed guidance about his sexuality and a relationship he was in at the time, and chose a priest he refers to as Father Dominic, who he estimates was in his sixties at the time.
The actor explained that during the confessions at the school, instead of a typical private room setup, “priests would set up two chairs close to each other in various darkened corners of the quad, turn on music at a low volume to muddle the sound of confessions, and then you would basically just get right up in a priests’ face and whisper your sins.”
“I sat across from him in a dark corner, our knees touching. He grabbed my neck, as expected, and I started to talk,” he said.
“I started to try to explain what was happening with me, but I couldn’t make the words come out right.
“Instead, I started to cry. I was so embarrassed. Father Dominic squeezed my neck harder, and he grabbed both my hands with his free hand. His hands were like baseball mitts. We just sat there while I cried.
“He finally said, ‘It’s okay. You’ve done nothing wrong.’ It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it still felt nice. He stood up and pulled me up with him. He hugged me tightly.
“I felt safe and heard and understood. Then, with unexpected force, he kissed me. On the lips.
“He muscled his tongue into my mouth and held the back of my head still. Then he released me and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. He smiled.”
The actor, who is now 40, “tried to avoid” Father Dominic for the rest of the year, but his mother invited the priest to his graduation party.
“We stood at my parents’ front door and said our good-byes for the final time, and then he grabbed me by the back of the neck and forced his tongue in my mouth,” he said.
“I just stood there and let him. I didn’t kiss back, but I also didn’t move. He smiled at me and walked to his car.”
“Cleaning up after the party, I felt a little numb. I thought, How many teenage boys have to deal with this shit at their graduation parties?
“Am I the only one? Or was Father Dominic just taking a tour of homes and forcing French kisses on young men throughout the city?
“If I had to kiss a priest at my graduation party, why couldn’t it have been a priest I wanted to kiss? More important, why did I have to kiss anyone?”
If this has brought up issues for you, help is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline on 13 11 14, or QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au.
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