Editorial: Hypocrisy Rules at Delbarton
December 07, 2012
In 1988, a young man accepted a settlement from the Delbarton School for damages he suffered after he was sexually assaulted while a teenager by the Rev. Timothy Brennan who was then a monk at Delbarton.
At the time, the teen, referred to only as “John Doe,” signed a confidentiality agreement that barred him from ever talking about the settlement.
Now, 24 years later, the victim, now an adult, wants to purge the painful memories and speak publicly to help other victims reach peace.
But because of the confidentiality agreement, he must remain silent or risk being forced to pay back the settlement along with other penalties to Delbarton.
John Doe’s lawyer, Gregory Gianforcaro of Phillipsburg, has many years of experience representing victims of clergy sexual abuse. Gianforcaro also wants his client to be freed from the confidentiality agreement so he can get on with his healing.
Delbarton’s response has been to file a lawsuit against Gianforcaro, claiming he violated the confidentiality agreement by referring to the amount of money in the settlement.
The whole sordid situation is patently hypocritical.
In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Bishops convened a conference in Dallas, Texas. They ratified the so-called Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which, in part, speaks against confidentially agreements and in favor of openness and transparency.
Delbarton signed on and agreed to abide by the confidentiality prohibition in future cases.
The school is hardly acting like it respects openness and transparency. Its lawyer, the noted criminal attorney Michael Critchley, has said that Gianforcaro should be held accountable for violating the agreement. The school also has made no signs that it would retroactively prohibit confidentiality agreements.
Too many people have come forward with horrific stories over the years about how they were molested and forever injured by perverted priests.
Delbarton claims it is doing everything it can to alleviate the suffering and promote the healing.
But words are empty without action and Delbarton should take decisive action by voiding confidentiality agreements. That would show the school is more concerned with the health of the victims than of the health of the school’s pocketbook.