More Catholic clergy named in latest lawsuit as alleged child molesters

Former Delbarton School monk Timothy Brennan pleaded guilty in 1987 to sexually abusing young men and was described by a national expert on sexual abuse in the Catholic church as the “most severe example” of sexual perversion that he had ever seen.

But Brennan is not included in a list issued in February by New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses of 188 priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children over decades.

Former Delbarton priests Richard Lott, Justin Capato, Benedict Worry and Luke Travers, the former Delbarton headmaster, also have been accused in the past of sexually abusing young people and yet they also are not on the dioceses’ list.

They are, however, included in a list released last week of 311 clergy members accused of sexual misconduct in New Jersey, issued by lawyers demanding more information on sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy.

The list issued by the dioceses only includes priests and deacons who worked directly for one of the five dioceses in New Jersey. Ex-priests like Brennan, Lott, Capato and Travers worked for St. Marty’s Abby and Delbarton and not the diocese of Paterson.

Controversial List

The distinction doesn’t sit well with people like Bill Crane, formerly of Mendham and a victim of sexual abuse by Delbarton priests.

“(Brennan) is the most noted serial child rapist at Delbarton and the diocese of Newark,” said Crane.

Phillipsburg lawyer Gregory Gianforcaro, who has represented Crane and many other sexual abuse victims, worked to assemble the list and a new lawsuit with Jeff Anderson and Associates of Minnesota, another national leader in representing clergy sexual abuse victims.
Gianforcaro said it is important that victims be recognized even if the predator is not on the diocesan lists.

“What is disturbing is that several of these priests in the recent list were not previously named as clerics who allegedly sexually abused minors in diocesan parishes,” Gianforcaro said. “Why (Brennan) is not on the earlier list is disturbing because he clearly was allegedly to have abused young people in parishes in the archdiocese.”

Crane said the difference in the two lists shows that “once again after 30 years of questioning transparency, it is still not coming from the church.”

Patrick J. Wall, a former priest is the lead researcher for Jeff Anderson and Associates. He has been working on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse since 2002. Wall said in a blog that dioceses across the nation have consistently understated the number of priests who sexually assaulted minors.

In July 2018, St. Mary’s, the Catholic order that runs the Delbarton School, settled lawsuits brought by five men who alleged they were sexually abused by Brennan, Travers and Capato.

Brennan is perhaps the most glaring omission from the list issued by the dioceses.

He became a Benedictine priest in 1961 and had been a teacher and guidance counselor at Delbarton School before he was removed from the school after being accused of sexual abuse in 1986.

He pleaded guilty in 1987 to aggravated sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy at Delbarton School and was sentenced to six months in a facility for clerics who are sex offenders. Various lawsuits allege that Brennan abused more than 50 young people.

A.W. Richard Sipe, a researcher, psychotherapist and former priest who died in 2018, was a leading expert on the subject. He wrote about Brennan in an affidavit as an expert witness in a suit settled in June. Sipe also was an expert witness in the investigation by a Pennsylvania grand jury that noted that more than 1,000 children had been abused by hundreds of priests over a period of many years. A grand jury in New Jersey also is investigating claims of abuse by clergy.

Sipe had been asked to determine “whether and if so, when did the Benedictine superiors of St. Mary’s Abbey, Morristown, N.J. know or should have known that Timothy (James Patrick) Brennan was sexually attracted to males; and posed a threat to the safety of minors, especially boys.”

Sipe concluded that Brennan was “a current, and for the seeable future, a serious sexual danger to any creature living or dead in any unsupervised situation. He is truly the most severe example of what the classical literature sites as Polymorph Perverse that I have encountered in my entire career.”

Sipe wrote that Brennan’s superiors and colleagues “inevitably knew part or all of the picture of Brennan’s behavior through confession (formal or informal), observation, participation, others’ revelations, or rumors.”

“The documents that I have reviewed demonstrate clearly a progressive pattern of sexual development, experience and activity from uncontrollable masturbatory activity, pornography, pedophilic behaviors (15-year-old boys) homosexual exchanges (mature men), bestiality, to the abduction of girls and women for sexual purposes,” Sipe wrote.

The suit filed by Gianforcaro and for Jeff Anderson and Associates demands that all five New Jersey Bishops release the identities, background information and histories on all clergy accused of sexual misconduct with minors, which has largely been concealed.

The suit also represents a sexual abuse survivor who alleges that all of the New Jersey Catholic Bishops and the New Jersey Catholic Conference have maintained “a public hazard by keeping secret the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in New Jersey.”

A statement from the dioceses said the original list was part of an effort “to promote healing for all victims of child sexual abuse. Publishing the list is part of the five Dioceses’ ongoing commitment to transparency and to encourage persons sexually abused by clergy to come forward.”

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More Catholic clergy named in latest lawsuit as alleged child molesters
Mount Olive Chronicle
Phil Garber
May 13, 2019