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Catholic school sex-abuse confidentiality case is resolved

December 6, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A lawsuit filed by a Catholic school against an attorney it claimed breached a confidentiality clause in a clergy sex abuse settlement has been resolved, both sides said Thursday.

Neither side offered details on the resolution.

It brings an end to a six-year battle among the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey, the private Delbarton School and Gregory Gianforcaro, an attorney who has represented numerous clergy sex abuse victims.

The suit claimed Gianforcaro violated a confidentiality clause in a former Delbarton student’s 1988 settlement with the school when the lawyer told reporters in 2012 that the settlement was “approximately seven figures.”

At the time, Gianforcaro was seeking to have the confidentiality clause lifted, and it eventually was. Gianforcaro denied violating the agreement because, among other factors, he was not representing the former student in 1988 when it was signed.

The school’s lawsuit sought damages from Gianforcaro in the amount of the original settlement.

Gianforcaro and an attorney representing the school confirmed the resolution of the lawsuit Thursday but didn’t disclose details, citing confidentiality rules.

The resolution was signed by a judge on Wednesday, the same day jurors had begun hearing testimony in state Superior Court in Morristown.

During questioning by attorney Robert Gold, Gianforcaro acknowledged making the statement in 2012 but said he didn’t believe that violated the confidentiality clause, in part because he didn’t know the exact amount because it had been redacted in the copy he’d been given.

In July, leaders of the Order of St. Benedict of New Jersey said 30 people had come forward since 1988 alleging sexual abuse by priests or lay faculty at Delbarton. The alleged abuses dated back to the late 1960s.

The Order also said it had settled eight lawsuits with alleged victims, while seven others were pending.

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