Delbarton suing attorney who is suing them over alleged molestations at the Morris Twp. school

The Benedictine religious order that operates Delbarton School in Morris Township has filed suit against a lawyer it claims has disclosed confidential details about a settlement reached between the order and a youth who was sexually abused by a monk in the 1980s.

The Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey, which operates Delbarton and the Benedictine monastery St. Mary’s, sued Phillipsburg attorney Gregory G. Gianforcaro in a complaint made public Thursday in state Superior Court, Morristown.

Gianforcaro currently represents in civil litigation six men who allegedly were molested years ago by monks at Delbarton. During a press conference outside the courthouse in Morristown this past June, Gianforcaro also announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of “John Doe,” a man now in his 40s who was sexually abused, admittedly, by the Rev. Timothy Brennan when the victim was a student at Delbarton.

The John Doe case, which is pending, asks a judge to release the victim from a confidentiality agreement he signed in 1988 when he accepted a monetary package from the Order of St. Benedict to resolve his lawsuit over the molestation. Brennan had admitted in 1987 to abusing the victim, and Gianforcaro had said in June that the victim wanted to assist others in similar circumstances and that Delbarton needed to be transparent about past incidents of pedophilia.

The current lawsuit on behalf of the Benedictine order, filed by attorneys Michael Critchley and John Michael Vazquez, alleges that Gianforcaro told the media that the 1988 resolution involved a “seven-figure settlement.” The reference was a carrot to attract other litigants and violated a provision that parties seeking to be relieved from the 1988 agreement had to give the other 20 days advance notice in writing, the lawsuit said.

Gianforcaro said Thursday he has done nothing wrong and was not the lawyer who represented the Brennan victim back in 1988, though he represents him today.

“I think I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I think they have no cause of action. It’s retaliatory. I think they want to try to shift the focus and try to make it about me and the attorneys rather than about the abuse,” Gianforcaro said.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing and tortious interference with contractual relations. It demands unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys fees.

The lawsuit states: “Gianforcaro…breached contractual obligations by organizing, conducting and appearing at a press conference during which he repeatedly violated the terms of the agreement by publicly disclosing information concerning John Doe’s claims against OSBNJ and the existence of the agreement between John Doe and OSBNJ. Additionally, during the press conference and in violation of the agreement, Gianforcaro disclosed that OSBJ paid a ‘seven-figure settlement’ to John Doe.”

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Nov 15, 2012
Peggy Wright
Daily Record