Delbarton Alumnus Files Sex Abuse Suit
Man Claims Memory of Molestation by Monk 28 Years Ago Was Repressed

By Peggy Wright
Daily Record
September 3, 2005

[Note from The name of the survivor in this article has been redacted at the survivor's request.]

A 45-year-old Washington State man has claimed in a lawsuit that he now has a vivid memory of being molested 28 years ago by a Benedictine monk when he was a student at the private Delbarton School in Morris Township.

"The repressed memories of the childhood sexual abuse to which plaintiff had been subjected did not meaningfully coalesce, with any sense of clarity or understanding, until on or about Sept. 10, 2003," according to [Name Redacted]'s lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, Morristown.

[Name Redacted], who could not be reached at his home in Woodinville, Wash., names as his molester the Rev. Richard E. Lott, who in 1977 was a monk in the Order of St. Benedict. The monks run the Delbarton School for boys in grades 7-12.

[Name Redacted]'s suit said he enrolled at the school in 1975 and allegedly was molested and given marijuana and alcohol by Lott in 1977.

The lawsuit, alleging lack of action and oversight, also names a former headmaster and abbot of the order who served in the 1970s as defendants.

Rev. Elias Lorenzo, victim liaison for St. Mary's Abbey, said Friday that the Order of St. Benedict first learned of [Name Redacted]'s complaint through another priest in November 2004. The abbey reported the complaint to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office and an independent review board.

"We take all complaints seriously,"Lorenzo said. "It's a very traumatic experience for the victims. We try to be proactive; we try to be pastoral and sensitive."

The suit also names the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, now-deceased Bishop Lawrence B. Casey and Bishop Frank J. Rodimer, who retired.

The lawsuit's references to the Paterson diocese or its bishops' oversight of the Benedictine monks of St. Mary's Abbey in Morris Township mystified diocesan spokeswoman Marianna Thompson. She said the diocese has no jurisdiction over the order and the monks do not answer to the bishop.

Lott's whereabouts could not be determined Friday.

Lawsuits may go forward if a person proves that memories have been repressed. Neither lawyer returned calls for comment on Friday.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.