Letter to the N.C. Press

Monday, May 6, 2019

Thank you for your response xxxxxxx.  I look forward to connecting with you.

This is a very complicated affair.  It has hundreds if not thousands of moving parts.  A 32 year history, at least.  Multiple efforts to bring this man to justice over the years, if you believe the children who have been asking for help for over 30 years.  I believe the children.  And I believe the children who have grown into men.  Many, no all, carry tremendous wounds of spirit and body.

I believe there are larger forces at work than just one man allegedly abusing orphans in his care.  I think this might be part of a larger network of sex abuse and / or sex trafficking.  Perhaps it is connected with international crime as well, laundering money.   I think the Haitian government has incentive to overlook this abuse because Geilenfeld brings in millions of dollars to the Haitian economy;  many well-meaning Christians have donated to Geilenfeld's orphanages over the years.  Additionally, money makes for good bribes to get out of jail, and to skip court appearances in Haiti, and to buy protection.  I think the U.S. government has incentive to overlook this abuse because it keeps it off our shores.  I believe Americans, Canadians, Europeans have used the ’services’ of Geilenfeld over the years as well.  Christians and non-Christians a like.

The power of Geilenfeld’s sell is the Christian message.  He has tapped into a deep well of meaning for millions of people, and that is their belief in the savior Jesus Christ.  Like the Catholic church, people are stone walls when you bring up that a Christian ‘leader’ is sexually abusing children in his care.  ‘True believers’ believe that any allegation of sexual abuse is simply the work of the Devil, trying to bring a man of God down.  The stone wall has only recently been chipped away at in the entertainment / economic realm - Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, etc.  But with Geilenfeld, and many like him, there are two tremendous myths that power the sexual abuse that he allegedly doles out:  Wealth, and religious belief.  I use ‘myth’ only to describe the phenomena that give deep meaning to one’s life: stature with fellow beings :  wealth;  stature with the creator: Christianity.

Most of the people that support this man are good people.  They believe in doing good.  I have come to think that it is fear that keeps Christian supporters from believing these children.  Because if they do believe the children, it might puncture a huge hole in their belief system.  It certainly has in my worldview.  It has been an earthquake.  Not because Geilenfeld is (allegedly) sexually abusing these kids, but because so many people support him that know about these allegations that have lasted decades.

When you start to dig into this, you will find a law suit against Paul Kendrick.  He was sued by Hearts with Haiti and Geilenfeld claiming defamation.  They won $14.5 million from Kendrick.  The suit was thrown out because it was filed in an incorrect court.  The Geilenfeld supporters will point to this ‘win’ as proof that these allegations are all a hoax.  These allegations are not a hoax.  Paul Kendrick is a very acerbic man.  I admire his passion as an advocate for children who have been sexually abused.  But if you cross him, you are subject to tremendous anger and disgust.  And he does not filter his anger and disgust, nor does he curb it in the short run, or stop with it in the long haul.   This is what lost him that trial.  Paul Kendrick lost the trial.  And the truth lost.  I also believe racism has a great deal to do with Geilenfeld getting away with this behavior for so long, and for winning the law suit.  He and his supporters argue that you can’t believe these youngsters, especially these black Haitian youngsters:  they are lying in hopes for a better life, so they can win money, or get to the United States.

Mary Kohlhaas (sp?) tried to bring this sexual abuse to the light in the early 90s.  Then a coup happened, and she got overwhelmed with the enigma of Haiti.  She stopped advocating.  The kids tried again when they were in Detroit raising money, and Geilenfeld used fear to make the boys retract their true stories.  I was introduced to this in 2012.  I too have thrown up my hands at times.  Yet the situation keeps reaching back out to me.

Your journalism discipline demands writing to be short and to the point.  Yet this situation demands wide and deep concentration; and persistent persistence.  It is an Iron Man walk that is lasting for decades.  Common reaction is to not get involved.  ’There is suffering all over the world, so why get involved.’  Or ‘why hasn’t he been arrested yet (he has), and how does he keep getting out of jail, and why don’t the courts do anything?’    This is the same thought process that allowed Cosby, Weinstein, Spacey, Jimmy Saville, hundreds of Catholic Priests,…, to abuse people in their care and employ for years and years.

I hope you choose persistence when you investigate this situation.  Stay with it. It is more than it seems. https://www.istwanouayisyen.com  has a lot of good information, and references other sources that you can begin your search with.

Safe Travels
Robert Bryan Davis
Class of 1983 - UNC Chapel Hill