October 22, 2020
By Abbott Koloff
The Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School in Morris Township now faces 16 sexual abuse lawsuits in state court after four more were filed Thursday naming Timothy Brennan, a priest and former teacher who died late last year and who has been the focus of at least 20 complaints since the 1980s.
St. Mary’s Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict New Jersey, which runs Delbarton, has settled at least 10 complaints involving Brennan over the years. Brennan is also named in 10 of the pending lawsuits. All but one of the pending cases have been filed since Dec. 1, 2019, when the state loosened restrictions on filing sex abuse lawsuits, suspending the civil statute of limitations for two years.
Brennan was sentenced to probation in 1987 after pleading guilty to aggravated sexual contact with a 15-year-old Delbarton student. The religious order later settled a complaint by the student’s family by paying more than $1 million.
At least nine order clerics and one Delbarton lay teacher have been accused of sexual abuse in 30 lawsuits over the past two decades. The order has settled 14 of those complaints since 2006. One order priest accused of abuse still had voicemail at the abbey this year. The priest, Benedict Worry, has been named in two lawsuits, one settled by the abbey and the other pending.
The lawsuits filed Thursday allege abuse in the 1970s and 1980s at the Delbarton School and at St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish in Linden, where the Order of St. Benedict ran a school. In addition to the order, the Linden parish and the Newark Archdiocese were named as defendants in two of the complaints.
One plaintiff was an 11-year-old parishioner at the Linden church in 1974 when he allegedly was abused by Brennan. The other three plaintiffs were Delbarton students, according to court papers. One of them was allegedly abused in the 1970s while Brennan lived at the Linden parish, their attorney said. The other two were allegedly abused in the mid-1980s, according to court papers.
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