Broadway actor and Girls star Andrew Rannells has just come out as the victim of sexual harassment…by a priest.
Rannells, who had a big breakout role in The Book of Mormon, grew up a practicing Catholic in Nebraska. In his new memoir, Too Much is Never Enough, he reveals that as a teenager he once attended confession with a priest identified as Father Dominic.
After the particularly emotional confession, (one in which the priest and patron sit face-to-face, rather than in a confession booth), Father Dominic forced himself on Andrew.
“He stood up and pulled me up with him,” Rannells writes. “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.”
Nobody saw the exchange, which left Rannells feeling violated and confused. At his high school graduation, Rannells also reveals Father Dominic kissed him on the mouth again, this time with tongue. The incident also left Andrew angry.
“I felt a little numb,” he writes. “I thought, How many teenage boys have to deal with this sh*t 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?”
The new memoir also details Rannells’ harassment by nuns for making friends and playing with girls as a child–a thinly veiled form of homophobia aimed at shaming him away from effeminacy. Ultimately, after Father Dominic’s assault, Rannells chose to leave the Catholic Church and Nebraska for gay life in New York.