You don't see this on Law & Order

Too strange for my column, but too surreal to ignore, I offer this unexpected comic (!) interplay from a criminal trial in which one catholic priest is accused of attempted rape and a monsignor stands charged with protecting predators over children.

Humor? With the top laugh-getter a deeply scarred sex abuse victim who later became a drug addict and a criminal who thrice attempted suicide? I know what you're thinking. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it.

The scene: Wednesday's trial session.

The cast: "Mark," the now-30-year-old man who accused the Rev. James J. Brennan of a 1996 assault; William Brennan (no relation), the priest's attorney; Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina; the jury, reporters and spectators.

The set-up: Brennan (the attorney) grilling Mark (the victim) on the particulars of the incident, which Brennan (the attorney) kept calling "rubbing."

The exchange:

Mark (Annoyed): "He didn't rub up against me. He spooned me," followed by graphic depiction. "It's completely different."

William Brennan: inaudible expression of confusion.

Mark: "You don't know what spooning is?" (Sounding skeptical.)

William Brennan: "I'm old." (Some jurors giggle.)

Judge Sarmina: "I've heard of spooning." (Many jurors giggle.)

Mark, to William Brennan: "If you've never heard of spooning, you should get out more." (Laughter spreads.)

William Brennan: Says something about having seven children.

Mark: "You've got seven kids?" (Surprised.) "You should know what spooning is."

By this point, everyone in the room is in stitches, wondering if we've just heard what we think we've just heard.

-- Monica Yant Kinney