Former Parsippany Resident Alleges Delbarton Abuse
By Michael Daigle
June 5, 2012
Steve Badt said he recently had a conversation with his 8-year-old son about what had happened to him as a teenager.
On Tuesday, standing on the grounds of the Morris County Courthouse, Badt, 44, a former Parsippany resident and Delbarton School graduate, spoke of the sexual abuse that took place at the hands of a monk at the Morris Township Catholic school between 1979 when he was in the seventh grade, and 1985, when he was in the 12th grade.
Badt, and another former Delbarton student who remained unnamed, joined an existing lawsuit against St. Mary’s Abbey, which operates Delbarton. The original suit was filed in March by Phillipsburg attorney Gregory G. Gianforcaro on behalf of twin brothers William Crane Jr., and Thomas Crane, formerly of Randolph.
The lawsuit was amended to include the new allegations and includes complaints from six former Delbarton students, Gianforcaro said.
The Crane brothers, who were on hand Tuesday to offer Badt support, "claim in the suit they were sexually abused by the Rev. Luke Travers, who served as Delbarton headmaster from 1999 to 2007, and the Rev. Justin Caputo, who until recently was assigned to Notre Dame of Mt. Carmel Parish in Cedar Knolls.
Badt, the director of kitchen operation for Miriam’s Kitchen, a Washington D.C. non-profit soup kitchen, alleged he was sexually abused by St. Mary’s monk Timothy Brennan, who in 1987 was convicted of criminal sexual abuse of another Delbarton student. Brennen was removed to a Missouri rehabilitation center and has not been active in the church since his conviction, church officials said recently.
Badt said he came forward after hearing about the Crane brothers suit.
“I was deeply moved by the Crane brothers,” Badt said. “We have to support the unknown victims and say, ‘we are not alone.'"
Badt, who referred to Brennan at “Father Timothy,” said it would not be unusual that a student and a monk were together during non-class hours.
"Timothy Brennan, a Benedictine monk of St. Mary's Abbey, has not been an active part of the monastic community for the past 25 years," according to a Delbarton statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Although he is still a monk, his activities have been severely restricted and he has not performed any public priestly ministry for many years. Timothy is resident at a secure facility where he has no contact with the general public."
More important is getting the leadership of St. Mary’s abbey to accept responsibility for the alleged abuse of students taking place on their campus, Badt said.
“We need to being justice and accountability to those responsible and healing to the victims of this tragedy,” he said.
Sexual abuse and exploitation of any kind, whether toward an adult or a child, is inconsistent with the beliefs and values of St. Mary's Abbey. The program of education, monitoring and prevention has now been in place for a decade.
"Unfortunately, abuse allegations continue to be disclosed through Internet blogs and in the media, sometimes before they are reported to competent authorities. This limits the ability to investigate thoroughly or respond fairly, particularly when misconduct is alleged to have taken place years ago," Delbarton's statement read.
Badt is married with two sons, ages 8 and 3. He said he didn’t tell anyone about the abuse until he told his sister. His parents, he said, would have supported him, and probably been more aggressive in going after the school had they been told. Badt said the episode forever changed his view of the Catholic church.
Gianforcaro said the other former student who joined the suit has chosen to remain anonymous. He is listed as “John Doe” on the court papers.
The attorney said this person will file his complaint directly with Delbarton and St. Mary’s, a Benedictine monastery.
This person alleged that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Benedict Worry, who taught at Delbarton for 18 years, following his 1987 ordination, according to underthegreenwave.com, a website operated by advocate Patrick Marker, himself a sexual abuse victim in the 1980s.
Worry is the pastor at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Linden, but has been at St. Mary’s Abbey for health related issues, the website reported.
Father Benedict Worry resides at the Abbey," Delbarton's statement read. "He has been under strict supervision since January 2012, in response to a complaint alleging misconduct with an individual in the 1990s. Father Benedict has no contact with minors. He has a dedicated supervisor at the Abbey and his supervision is subject to regular review."
Gianforcaro said the legal action is a way for other victims to feel safe enough to come forward. A pedophile has more than one victim, he said.
He and New Jersey activists are also supporting legislation that would remove the statute of limitations from the prosecution.
Badt said victims don’t come forth right away.
“I thought it was my fault,” he said.
Tom Crane reported his allegations of abuse to the abbey in 2004, and Bill Crane Jr. in 2010.
The Crane brothers were among the plaintiffs who received a $5 million settlement from the Paterson Roman Catholic Diocese in 2005 over allegations of clergy sex abuse centering on James Hanley, a pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Mendham.
Travers, headmaster from 1999 to 2007, and who recently left St. Mary’s, was under “most severe” restrictions at the Abbey following the Crane allegations. Travers is accompanied by another monk wherever he goes, Cicatiello said previously.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating the allegations, but has not commented on the nature of that investigation.
The lawsuit contends that Delbarton and Abbey official, teachers, priests, trustees, deacons, employees, volunteers and directors took no action to stop
In January, Marker, wrote a letter to Gov. Chris Christie, whose children attended Delbarton, to begin an investigation.
In a Feb. 1 letter, Christie said he asked Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa to review Marker’s information and craft a response.