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Gabriel Byrne: I Was Molested In Seminary School

First Posted: 03/21/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:15 PM ET

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne revealed to an Irish television show that he was molested when he was 11 years old. Byrne, who plays a therapist on "In Treatment" and starred in films like "The Usual Suspects" and "Stigmata" told of his years as an altar boy and in a Christian Brothers school on the show "The Meaning of Life." The whole show can be watched here.

Byrne, 59, went to seminary at age 11 to begin studying to be a priest, and he lasted 4 1/2 years.

"Unfortunately, I experienced some sexual abuse," he said. "It was a known and admitted fact of life amongst us that there was this particular man, and you didn't want to be left in the dressing room with him. There were certain boundaries, sexual boundaries, that were crossed... I didn't feel that i suffered at the time.. It took many years to come to terms with it and to forgive those incidents that I felt had deeply hurt me."

"Again, I didn't think it severely impacted me at the time. But I suppose when I think about my later life, and how I had difficulties with certain issues, there is the real possibility they could have been attributable to that."

He later talked about his own battle with alcoholism.

He also said while, "I was beaten very regularly," he has never laid a hand on his two children, whom he had with ex-wife Ellen Barkin.

He left the seminary when he discovered women and felt more excitement for the female form than he ever had for the priesthood.

Byrne joined an acting group, he said, for the girls.

Watch the whole half hour here.


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Filed by Katherine Thomson  |