Lawsuit: Prestigious Prep School Is Center Of Sex Abuse

MORRISTOWN, NJ (PIX11)— One of the wealthiest and most prestigious schools in the Tri State is now the object of a lawsuit by two men who say there’s a culture of sexual abuse at the Delbarton School and at the abbey adjacent to the Morristown, New Jersey Catholic boys’ campus.

“The school should be on lockdown right now,” Bill Crane, one of two brothers who say they were abused at Delbarton, said in an interview. “The school should have yellow police tape around it until all these questions are answered.”

Bill Crane and his twin brother Tom told PIX11 News that they were sexually abused at Delbarton and at St. Mary’s Abbey next door, when their family lived on campus in the late 1970’s and early1980’s, while their father was assistant headmaster of Delbarton. The Cranes said they lived on campus for more than two years while their family’s house was being built, but the abuse didn’t stop when they moved out.

Because their father was on faculty for decades, the Crane Brothers were regularly on campus throughout their late childhood and adolescence, when, they say, the abuse took place. They told PIX11 News that they filed their suit in order to get tough questions answered about what they believe to be sexual abuse still going on at Delbarton.

“Those priests there know of individuals who have abused children,” Bill Crane said. “They’ve been complacent instead of coming forth and identifying those abusive priests.”

In their suit, the two brothers allege that Rev. Luke Travers, a teacher who ended up becoming the school’s headmaster, abused one of them, and that another minister, Rev. Justin Caputo, abused them both. According to documents related to their case, they were touched on their genitals on multiple occasions, and they had access to unlimited porn magazines, kept by many members of the Delbarton faculty, who lived in the abbey next door.

Delbarton and St. Mary’s has said through a spokesman that it will not make any official comment about pending legal action, although the school has confirmed that Rev. Travers, who had in recent years split his time between St. Mary’s Abbey and the Richmond, Virginia diocese, where he helped to administer a school, has been removed from his school duties at both locations.

The Cranes view that as only a token step in the right direction, and feel that legal action is the only way to ensure justice for them and for current students. “We’re not trying to take down the Delbarton School,” Tom Crane said, “but to protect the kids who are there right now.”

“We want to commit that the days of secrecy are over,” said Bill Crane. Still, he says, the challenge that he and his brother fight is daunting. “We have individuals such Governor [Chris] Christie, who has a son there. They’re in compromised positions because of their faith, and we’re not getting the accountability [from faculty] we need.”

Christie’s son Andrew is a Delbarton student. In fact, it was while Christie was headed to his son’s varsity baseball game last May that New Jersey’s chief executive sparked controversy by traveling there by state police helicopter, paid for by taxpayers.

Regarding the Cranes’ allegations, Christie has gone on record saying that the sexual abuse is “inexcusable,” if it’s true. The only way to know for certain is to have both accusers and the accused speak at trial, according to the Crane Brothers’ attorney. “It’s the only way for them to have a voice,” lawyer Greg Gianforcaro said.

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Lawsuit: Prestigious Prep School Is Center Of Sex Abuse
March 21, 2012