Catholic order says 30 victims have alleged sexual abuse

Leaders of a Catholic order in New Jersey said in a letter posted on its website that 30 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse by the monks or lay faculty associated with a private school.

In a joint letter written to the community on July 20, the head of St. Mary's Abbey and the Delbarton School headmaster said the order had settled eight lawsuits with alleged victims, while seven others were pending.

The abuse allegedly took place while many of the victims were students at Delbarton School in Morristown, which is managed by the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey. Other reports were made by a parishioner of St. James Church in Basking Ridge and former students of St. Elizabeth of Hungary School in Linden as well as by the sons of a former Delbarton School employee.

The letter said the reported assaults happened between 1968 and 1999 and involved 13 monks and one lay teacher.

Alleged victims began coming forward in 1988, and the officials said in the letter that the school reported the accusations to the Morris County prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office declined to comment on the investigations to several news outlets.

The office pressed charges in one of the cases against the Rev. Timothy Brennan. He was convicted of aggravated sexual contact with a 15-year-old Delbarton student three decades ago. According to court documents, Brennan admitted to abusing 50 boys.

They say settlement money has been paid through insurance, not donations, and that the settlements won't prohibit victims from speaking publicly if they want to share their allegations of abuse.