3 with Ties to Delbarton School Punished in Sex Abuse Cases

By Bill Swayze
Star-Ledger [Morris Township NJ]
August 6, 2004

Two priests and a deacon from the religious order that runs the Delbarton School have been punished in connection with three sexual abuse cases, according to a statement from Saint Mary's Abbey.

The Benedictine monks of Saint Mary's, which runs the private school in Morris Township, established an independent review board headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Marie Garibaldi two years ago to investigate the cases.

As a result of the board's recommendations, one former monk who left the abbey after sexual abuse complaints surfaced and later became a deacon is being removed from the ministry, the statement read.

A priest who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact with a 15-year-old student has been committed to a sexual offenders treatment center and is barred from having any contact with minors, according to the abbey.

A second priest, who was the subject of questions about his time in an out-of-state diocese, was allowed to remain in the order, but he cannot have any contact with minors, according to the statement.

"The board did thorough and complete reviews of these cases, and the decisions were accepted by the abbot," said the Rev. Elias Lorenzo, spokesman for the abbey.

A fourth case involving alleged inappropriate conduct was raised in 2002 and was examined by the board. But the initial complaint, which involved an adult, was vague and the board recommended the case be closed, according to the statement.

While the abbey's report did not provide names, two of the four cases have been well publicized.

The focus of one of the cases was the Rev. Timothy Brennan, who pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact with a 15-year-old Delbarton student in 1986.

"This priest (will) not be dismissed, in which case he would live unsupervised," the report states, noting he will spend the rest of his days in the priesthood in an out-of- state sexual offenders treatment center.

The other case involves former Delbarton School teacher Robert Flavin, who was accused of assaulting an 18-year-old Delbarton School alumnus on campus in 1981. The teen also made an accusation about an incident in 1978, but the review board found just the 1981 claim credible, according to the report.


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