Andrew Rannells is opening up about a particularly tough time in his life in his new memoir, Too Much Is Not Enough.
The former Girls star has revealed — in an excerpt from the memoir first published by Vulture — that a Catholic priest in his 60s allegedly molested the then-future TV star when he was just a teenager back in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
A good portion of the memoir looks back at Rannells’ upbringing in the Catholic church, where the now-openly gay TV star had served as an altar boy at his local diocese. The star claims in the book that at one point during his days as a high school student at a Jesuit school, he was struggling with his sexuality before fully coming out — and he decided to confide in a priest who he refers to as Father Dominic, describing the older man (below):
“He was probably in his sixties, but he worked out every day and remained lean and sinewy. He also took an interest in me because I did well in his classes. That’s what I thought anyway. He seemed so strong, but so kind, and I was hopeful that he could save me from myself.”
The now 40-year-old also recalled that first rite of confession about struggling with homosexuality — and how the alleged sexual contact with Father Dominic began (below):
“This was not your typical confession with private rooms and curtains drawn. 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 priest’s face and whisper your sins. Sometimes he would close his eyes and grab the back of your neck firmly while you confessed. I sat across from him in a dark corner, our knees touching. He grabbed my neck, as expected, and I started to talk. 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.”
Obviously, as the A Simple Favor star notes, that’s far from a “typical’ confession”… but things quickly went from bad to worse, he alleges, when the 60-something priest took things to the next level with the vulnerable teenage boy.
Andrew continued, describing the point of no return (below):
“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 forcible kiss is disgusting enough, and then when combined with the religious imagery and the vulnerable moment in which Rannells came forward only to be allegedly taken advantage of… so predatory and scary!
Understandably, the actor was “stunned” by the encounter — and as most anyone would do, he tried to avoid Father Dominic for the rest of the year. That worked well for much of the time, until his mother — who didn’t know about the alleged sexual assault — invited the priest and a few of Rannells’ other teachers to his graduation party that spring.
He recalled (below):
“At some point, Father Dominic needed to leave, and he asked if I could show him out … 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. 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.”
Such gross (and illegal) behavior!!!
While those two moments have understandably had a profound affect on the actor through his entire life, though, it sounds like he quickly resolved to move past the situation as well as could be expected.
The author shared (below):
“It was time to leave high school, it was time to leave the Catholic Church, it was time to leave Omaha, and it was time to leave this idea that I had to go along with whatever older man was calling the shots, behind. I was eighteen years old, and I couldn’t be anybody’s altar boy anymore.”
Amen!!! (No pun intended.)
Obviously, a couple powerful sentences resolving to move past a sexual assault won’t just make things magically better, but at least it’s a small relief to know he quickly found himself determined to move forward as best he could.
Here’s hoping the star continues to find the good things in life — though it’s scary to think about the flip side of him leaving Omaha, and the potential that other young boys were also taken advantage of by this Father Dominic. Ugh…
What do U think, Perezcious readers? Let us know your reactions to this memoir reveal in the comments (below)…
[Image via WENN]