The Spectacle Blog

Dear Prudence and Father Drinan

By on 6.21.12 | 5:22PM

On the occasion of the Jerry Sandusky trial, Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, has a column over at Slate in which she mentions three incidents where she was sexually assaulted when she was young but didn't tell her family or the police. About midway through she drops this bit about a famous left-wing priest and Democratic congressman:

The last incident was not child abuse, because I was no longer a minor, though I was still a teenager of 18 or 19. Several years earlier, my family had worked for the election of our congressman, Father Robert Drinan, an anti-Vietnam War, pro-choice priest. He was in town for a fundraiser or town meeting, and I went. Afterward he offered me a ride to the subway. (You’d think I would have learned.) He was in his 50s, and as he drove we chatted about college. We got to where he was letting me off, he turned off the engine, and he began jabbering incoherently about men and women. Then he lunged, shoving his tongue in my mouth while running his hands over my breasts and up and down my torso. It seems like the set-up for a joke, a Jewish woman being molested by a Jesuit. As we tussled, I had probably the most naïve thought of my life: “How could this be happening, he’s a priest!”

Congressman Drinan has been dead for five years, and his niece raises an obvious objection on behalf of the family: “We find it odd that anyone would come forward with this allegation decades later when our uncle is dead and in no position to defend himself.”

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