Case Narrative

A Consenting Juveniles narrative is a first-hand account reporting the words of the research subject on his or her experience.

Augusten Burroughs

I, the 14-year-old, felt kind of thrilled.

Source:   A priest on his knees — Some of the best sex in my life has been administered by men of the cloth
by Augusten Burroughs
Salon, May 15, 2002

Christopher Robison’s parents divorced when he was twelve. A year later, he went to live with the family of his mother’s psychiatrist. He told the doctor’s 33-year-old son that he was gay and the man proceeded to force him to perform oral sex on him. This was the beginning of a rather dysfunctional, sexual relationship that lasted for two years until the boy was 15. Robinson changed his name to Augusten Burroughs when he was 18. Nineteen years later, he gave an account of that relationship in his best-selling memoir of his childhood, Running with Scissors, published in 2002.

Shortly before that book appeared in press, Burroughs wrote an essay about sex he’d had with Catholic priests. The second account in that essay revealed a brief sexual encounter from Burroughs’ youth that was not included in the memoir.

The other memorable Catholic priest blow job occurred when I was much younger, just 14. I suppose this would be the height of fashion now, to receive a blow job from a priest when you are a teenager.

His name was Father Christopher and he was a priest at the local Catholic church where I grew up. My mother wasn’t Catholic — my family wasn’t particularly religious — but she loved Catholic symbolism and she loved the services. She was a poet and a painter, so perhaps the rituals appealed to her dramatic side.

Father Christopher was the associate of a priest my mother knew and I sort of had a crush on him because he was young and almost hunky. He looked like he should be out on a grassy field in a pair of shorts kicking a soccer ball and not inside, wearing a black smock dress and lighting candles.

My mother attended church most Sundays, and sometimes, out of boredom, I would go with her. I seldom attended the service, instead preferring to walk around the empty offices that extended from the church itself, looking up close at the naked Jesus attached to the cinderblock walls with 8-inch bolts, the inspirational posters that were so corny they made me laugh and the various implements and accoutrements of the Catholic religion that I found strange and fascinating. I especially loved the brass tithing tray with the long black broom handle on the other end. I wanted, desperately, to steal it and hang it in my room above my bed.

Often on my explorations, I would pass by Father Christopher and we would exchange a nod and a glance. The first few times, I thought his glance meant, I’m watching you so don’t steal anything. But then I began to detect something else in his eyes. Something that reminded me of my dog, Brutus. It was hunger that I saw. And being a hungry, attention-starved teenager myself, I gave him back the same look he gave me.

It happened when I went into the men’s room. I’d passed him in the hallway and then turned left and gone into the bathroom with the sole purpose of peeing. But a moment later, the door opened and in walked Father Christopher. My first thought was, He thinks I’m going to smoke in here. And while I did, from time to time, steal cigarettes and smoke, that wasn’t what was on my mind. But instead of scolding me, he simply walked up to the urinal next to mine and peered over the metal wall at my penis.

It was such a sudden, unexpected thing. Truly, you really can’t say what you’d do in such a situation until you’re suddenly there.

I pretended not to notice and then when I was finished peeing I looked at him and said, “Hi.”

His eyes were glazed over with some sort of mad glue and he could not stop staring at my crotch. He was clenching his jaw, I could tell by watching the muscles twitch. And he was sweating, which was odd since the building was always freezing, like a meat locker. His hands were in his pants and I saw then that he was playing with himself.

OK, twist my arm. I was 14, bored, angry, horny, lonely and for various reasons my threshold for strangeness was very high, so I simply dropped my pants and stepped away from the urinal, facing him.

And this turned out to be my first excellent blow job from a Catholic priest.

He sobbed after I came and I felt terrible. I didn’t feel terrible for me. I mean, it wasn’t like he was somebody I trusted who molested or betrayed me. He was a hunky young guy in the wrong career who got my rocks off. For a straight guy, it would be like being 14 and having one of the centerfolds from Playboy step out of the magazine and hand you a bottle of mineral oil. Like you’d complain? Like you’d go, Oh my God, you’ve damaged me! On the other hand, I was unusual. I was an unsupervised youth, old for my age, not a virgin. I wasn’t a good Catholic boy. If I’d been a good, trusting Catholic boy and this shit happened? Well, then my attitude might have been to round up all the Catholic priests and feed them to a pack of pissed-off Hells Angels.

But standing there watching, I felt terrible for Father Christopher. He sobbed and he shook and looked, there on his knees, like he was about to split into pieces. He, the priest, was vulnerable and ruined for that moment. And I, the 14-year-old, felt kind of thrilled and kind of like, what do you expect? You worship a naked man on a cross all day? This shit’s bound to happen. There seemed to be nothing to do but step around him and leave and when I tried to do this, he reached up and grabbed my arm. “Please,” he said.

I knew what he was asking. “Never,” I told him. “I will never tell anybody.”

And I didn’t.

Excerpt reproduced pending permission.