Wednesday, November 25, 2015

You don't see this on Law & Order

Who would have ever thought a sex-abuse trial would have moments of levity?

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


We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
Daniel Rubin Inquirer Columnist
Also on
letter icon Newsletter