KEY POINTS

  • Rodney Baron, 57, claimed he was sexually abused over 150 times at Delbarton School in the 1970s
  • Three monks from the school were named as well as the Benedictine order that operated it in the lawsuit
  • Baron tolerated the abuse because he thought it was "normal and expected within the Delbarton culture" 

A former football player at a private Catholic school in Morris County, New Jersey has accused three monks from the institution of sexually abusing him more than 150 times when he was still a student there in the late 1970s, court documents showed.

Morristown resident Rodney Baron, now 57, said he was a seventh grader at the Delbarton School located in his town when he was sexually assaulted in the men's bathroom by former math teacher Brother John Michael Hunt and assistant headmaster and social studies teacher Rev. Manus Duffy, NJ.com reported, citing the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Morris County.

Named in the suit were the estates of the two monks and that of former headmaster of discipline Rev. Bruno Ugliano, as well as the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey, which runs the school. All three clerics are deceased.

According to the lawsuit, Baron was 13 and 14 in 1977 and 1978 when he was allegedly abused on a regular basis by the monks, and the assault was so frequent that the days when he was not abused were "the exception rather than the rule," a report by The New York Post said.

Baron, now seeking damages of more than $50 million, said he and his brother felt targeted because they were the only two Black students at the all-boys school.

"As the only African American student in the school other than his brother, (Baron) thought to himself: 'Who is going to believe me?'" the suit read.

The abuse allegedly began when Hunt followed Baron to the boy's bathroom during class hours and touched his penis "under the guide of helping (Baron) go to the bathroom." Hunt would later force oral sex and masturbation on the boy.

The young Baron was also abused by Duffy, who was known to fondle and massage Baron and other students in classroom settings, the lawsuit alleged. Additionally, Duffy was accused of raping Baron twice during an overnight retreat on the New Jersey Shore.

Baron allegedly tolerated the behavior because he believed it was "normal and expected within the Delbarton culture," the suit claimed.

Ugliano, meanwhile, allegedly forced masturbation and oral sex on Baron when he was sent to his office, as stated in the court documents.

The lawsuit claimed the abuse led to emotional distress and affected Baron's relationships, which pushed him to "destructive and dysfunctional behaviors" such as substance abuse.

Delbarton School is facing 20 claims that are similar to Baron's, 19 of which were filed after the state extended the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse lawsuit in December of 2019, as per NJ.com.

School officials publicly acknowledged in 2018 that 13 past or current clergy at the school as well as one retired civilian faculty member were involved in alleged abuses.

classroom-2093744_1920 Representation. Rodney Baron, 57, accused three monks from Delbarton School of sexually abusing him more than 150 times in the 1970s. Photo: Pixabay