Sexual abuse in Haiti is an horrific problem. This blog will contain posts from individuals that have experienced sexual abuse, child advocates writing on behalf of these individuals, journalists writing about sexual abuse,…. The aim is to raise awareness regarding this problem, especially amongst thousands of well-meaning people giving their money to organizations in Haiti that, in many cases, are doing worlds of good;however, in some instances, these same people are committing sexual abuse against children.
More than a handful of cases in Haiti have told a story of messianic efforts to help the poor in Haiti, yet at the same time, these individuals have been perpetuating the sickness of sexual abuse, ruining untold amount of lives.
Ex-Windsor priest John Duarte arrested for alleged child sex abuse … John Duarte, a Catholic priest trained in Canada, was recently convicted pedophilia, having sexually abused 10s of boys in and around his missions in Labadie. Hearts Together For Haiti, the non-profit group in Haiti, received an anonymous email which detailed sexual abuse being perpetrated by Duarte. Hearts Together With Haiti took action and undertook an investigation of John Duarte. When they had proof, they confronted Duarte. Duarte was convicted in a Canadian court recently.
Ex- priest Diocese of London Ontario. Ordained 1996. Since 1995 had been doing missionary work in Haiti and acting as an administrator of an orphanage for boys. Left the priesthood in 2003 and took up permanent residence in Haiti where he worked for the Windsor-based Hearts Together for Haiti (HTFHaiti), a charity which he co-founded, dedicated to “helping the Haitian community” with educational and medical programs. Around 2006, after a serious complaint was filed against him, he left HTFHaiti and took on work at a local hotel in Sousa, Puerto Plata. 2009 – sex abuse charges spanning from before, during and after Duarte’s years as a priest. The offences relate to sex abuse of boys age 12 to 17 in Haiti. April 2010 GUILTY plea after deal struck by Crown and defence lawyer Andrew Bradie – 18 months jail (2 for one for time served therefore 8 months or less) & 3 years probation
Douglas Perlitz Sentenced for Haitian Sex Abuse – CBS News. Mr. Perlitz was convicted in a Connecticut court in December of 2010. He received 20 years imprisonment. He too carried out his sickness of sexually abusing children for 10 to 15 years. Cyrus Sibert, a Haitian journalist, is regarded as having exposed Mr. Perlitz. When Perlitz was convicted late last year, Mr. Sibert began receiving communication from people who had been sexually abused at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Haiti.
Michael Geilenfeld founded St. Joseph’s in the mid-1980s. These allegations, according to Sibert, have an incomprehensible breadth. Sibert writes:
The number of victims is in the hundreds. In 28 years, there are many who claim to have experienced the onslaught of Geilenfeld. On a trip survey in Port-au-Prince, Citadel Network met about a dozen adults, older children of St. Joseph Home for Boys. The stories are the same: their Geilenfeld stroked the neck, face, abdomen, buttocks, he was pressed against his erect penis, and finally the less violent or the most naive, were sodomized. Sometimes he uses Haitian bisexual pedophiles and especially members of his staff, for the first attacks on children recently arrived.
This entire article can be found elsewhere in the blog.
This blog was created in response to … a lack of response. It is terribly expensive to carry out an investigation of alleged sexual abuse. Law enforcement agencies, on both the Haitian and American side of the Carribean, seem to be too busy to pursue these investigations. Perhaps there are too many other threats viewed as ‘more important’ by both groups.
The lack of response? Two major foundations seem to have all but ignored the charges of sexual abuse regarding Michael Geilenfeld. They have seen no evidence of sexual abuse, thus they seem to conclude that it does not exist. However, many children that grew up in the St. Joseph’s Home for Boys have made these allegations. St. Joseph’s itself explains the accusations as being lies perpetrated by the children because they want to gain sympathy from well-meaning people so they can get to America. Or, they explain that this is a spiritual warfare, and are praying for those making the accusations.
The hope of this blog is to raise awareness. Hopefully victims of sexual abuse in Haiti will speak their stories here. Hopefully citizens in both the United States will read these stories. Hopefully citizens will gain the power of numbers to begin doing something about this terrible problem.
This Problem is not a simple one.
In all three cases mentioned above, each of these individuals have been responsible for so many good things. Numerous jobs. Health Clinics. Schools. Food. Hope. Creating connections between North Americans and Haitians. Yet they have been sexually accusing children. In Geilenfeld’s case, I believe we must continue to refer to this as ‘alleged sexual abuse’ as it has not been proven in a court of law, nor has Geilenfeld admitted to have committed sexual abuse.
AND, what happens to the children when an abuser is caught and punished?
We must all think about that. And listen to the children.