Sex Abuse at NJ Catholic Prep School Alleged
By Chris Fry
Courhouse News Service
March 26, 2015
- The Delbarton School faces five lawsuits from alumni of the preparatory school who say they were sexually abused 30 years ago.
The plaintiffs do not use their full names, with three of them using initials and two others simply going by John Does. Each filing involves allegations of abuse from between 1972 and 1984.
Delbarton, a Morristown preparatory school for grades seven through 12, opened in 1939.
While the complaints against the school do not any individuals as defendants, they do identify the priests who allegedly abused the plaintiff students as the Rev. Timothy Brennan, the Rev. Benedict Michael Worry, Father Donal Fox, the Rev. Justin Caputo and the Rev. Luke Travers.
The lawsuits each claim that each of these aforementioned men individually was a "pederast, frotteurist, pedophile and/or ephebophile or other sexual offender, with a habit of making sexual advances and/or engaging in unnatural sexual acts with children."
Though each complaint tips the scales at 30 pages each, none cites specific instances of abuse or goes into detail about any misconduct. They all simply state that the plaintiffs were all "sexually assaulted and/or sexually abused" by the officials at the school while they were matriculating there.
The plaintiffs also state separately in their complaints that "the defendants deliberately and/or outrageously allowed him and/or assigned him a position as a brother, priest, reverend, teacher, deacon, trustee, director, officer, employee, agent, servant and/or volunteer at another parish, and/or school, where he would have full access to children...who had no awareness of his improper sexual practices."
The filings also all say that the defendants "were reasonably on notice that a brother and/or priest could exploit the power of their position, and that such relationships with minors as a confidant and brother, priest and/or reverend could enable that brother, priest and/or reverend to abuse and sexually molest [the plaintiffs]."
Delbarton allegedly "failed to report same as required by law, failed to adequately screen and/or investigate" the accused's activities and behavior with regard to the plaintiffs and also "failed to adequately monitor and/or investigate" sexual misconduct that occurred at their school."
Aside from Delbarton, St. Mary's Abbey and The Order of St. Benedict are both named as defendants in each action.
One of the cases additionally names St. Elizabeth's School, St. Elizabeth's Church and the Archdiocese of Newark as defendants.
The plaintiffs in the cases all are seeking damages for negligence, fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress. They are all represented by Gregory Gianforcaro of Phillipsburg, N.J.
The Delbarton School re-directed comment on the case to St. Mary's Abbey, which noted that "the recently filed complaints are not new."
"In 2012, the attorney representing the plaintiffs filed one lawsuit and put all the claimants together in a multi-plaintiff complaint," it said in an email. "That complaint has been dismissed without prejudice and the attorney has now filed separate lawsuits for each claimant which contain the same claims in the 2012 suit. Because this is active litigation, we will not comment further."