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Andrew Rannells Says a Priest Sexually Assaulted Him as a Teen

Andrew Rannells

Girls star Andrew Rannells has a new memoir, Too Much Is Not Enough. The book chronicles his life before the Broadway fame, including his years making it in New York City as well as growing up in Omaha, Nebraska.

In an excerpt published in Vulture, Rannells describes his time as an altar boy at Omaha’s Creighton Prep, where he was struggling with his sexuality and actively engaged in a sexual relationship with a much-older man. When he goes to a priest he calls Father Dominic to describe everything happening in his life, the priest forcefully kissed him.

“I sat across from him in a dark corner, our knees touching. He grabbed my neck, as expected, and I started to talk,” Rannells says. “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.”

Rannells says that confession at Creighton was different than most private confessions and that they happened in darkened corners of the quad, with music turned on “at a low volume to muddle the sound of confessions.”

“You would basically just get right up in a priest’s face and whisper your sins,” Rannells writes. “Sometimes he would close his eyes and grab the back of your neck firmly while you confessed. It seemed very ‘Roman Wrestler’ at the time, but looking back it was also very ‘Abusive Pimp.’ I waited in line to talk with Father Dominic, who was popular for confessions. I told myself that he was going to be helpful, that this was my best option.”

Rannells says that the priests’ advances did not end at confession. He says that, because Father Dominic was a school priest, he was invited to Rannell’s graduation party. As they said goodbye, the priest kissed him again.

“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,” Rannells writes. “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. I went into our kitchen and slammed a glass of wine before going back out to the party.”

Rannells’ story of sexual abuse comes only a month after the Vatican held a summit of high-ranking bishops to address the church’s epidemic of sexual abuse. Weeks prior to the summit, The New York Times ran a report detailing the lives of gay priests who lived in the closet and worried they would be scapegoated by the church for the cases of sexual abuse.  

RELATED | There Are a Lot of Gay Catholic Priests, Says ‘New York Times’ Report

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