Michael Geilenfeld has been accused of sexually abusing children since the late 1980s in Haiti. Accused by multiple people, multiple times.
Is Michael Geilenfeld another Jerry Sandusky?
Is Michael Geilenfeld another Doug Perlitz?
Is Michael Geilenfeld another John Duarte?
Is Michael Geilenfeld another Jimmy Savile?
All venue’s that have hosted this man’s group should gather and raise funds for the victims. Demand that Geilenfeld leave the country of Haiti so an investigation by US and Haitian authorities can proceed without interference. Please read responses to Geilenfeld’s explanation of these accusations. This man could be another Sandusky; another Doug Perlitz; another John Duarte; another Jimmy Savile …….. Help stop this.
Publiciation of a letter from Michael Geilenfeld, St. Joseph’s Family and Hearts with Haiti.
Review and response to the letter.
Evaluation of the information in the letter reveals numerous inaccuracies.
St. Joseph Family
St. Joseph’s Home For Boys ~ Wings of Hope ~ Trinity House
Resurrection Dance Theater of Haiti
Lekòl Sen Trinite
15 June 2011
St. Joseph’s / Hearts with Haiti
For the past several months Michael Geilenfeld, the founder and executive director of the St. Joseph Family, and the St. Joseph Family itself, have been the victims of increasingly inflammatory attacks. These attacks have come in the form of internet postings questioning the safety of the children of the St. Joseph Family and allegations of abuse against Michael.
- Since at least 1987, there are over ten separate, documented allegations from numerous sources about Geilenfeld’s sexual and physical abuse of children.
St Joseph / Hearts with Haiti
The St. Joseph Family strongly denies these charges and wants to reassure its friends and supporters that all charges and rumors are false and that the children of the St. Joseph Family, both past and present, were and are brought up in loving and supportive environments, free of any abuse.
- When one visits St Joseph’s several times, you realize children at St. Joseph, Trinity, and Wings of Hope do not get the clean water that Geilenfeld and the guests drink, but drink water from a water truck or cistern where rodents and bugs also live.
- Guests sit at tables set by the boys and eat chicken, salads, and vegetables. The boys eat beans and rice for lunch and dinner from their bowls with their spoon.
- In contrast to boys at other homes run by Americans in Haiti, with significantly less financial support, the children at St Joseph are not well educated or disciplined. Those sent on tour to raise more funds miss school. Most of the children do not pass the 6th or 9th grade national exams so they cannot continue their education.
St. Joseph’s / Hearts with Haiti
The recent attacks against Michael were first based on abuse charges from 1990. Those charges were originally made by boys from St. Joseph’s Home for Boys after they were coerced and manipulated by the people Michael left in charge of the home while he and several of the boys went on a dance theater tour of the United States. This period in the St. Joseph Family history is commonly referred to as the “coup” when the story of the St. Joseph Family is told and we have never sought to deny or cover up it happening.
- There are additional documented references to allegations in 1987, 1990-1991, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2006 – to the present. Some allegations are from the children and some from professions, and some from visitors who were concerned about the care of the children.
- According to several accounts, in 1990, Geilenfeld asked American volunteers to act as house parents while he was in the United States. Boys at Geilenfeld’s three houses made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Haitian and American professionals interviewed the boys and thought the stores were credible enough to warrant additional investigations. Those investigations gave more credence to the boy’s stories. Rather than return to Haiti to face the charges, Geilenfeld stayed in the United States.
- In Haiti, the “coupe” was when the army overthrew Aristide in 1990. Geilenfeld borrowed the term to describe the boys who made allegations and the adults who wanted to investigate and ascertain the truth.
- If the Haitian government cleared Geilenfeld, that information should be available and verified.
At the time of the “coup” the charges of abuse were investigated by the Institut du Bien Etre Social et de Recherches (IBSER), the department of social services in Haiti, and all charges were found to be false. At that time Michael was cleared of all wrong-doing by the Haitian government and allowed to continue the mission of St. Joseph’s. For the past 26 years, the St. Joseph Family has an on-going relationship with IBSER, with all three of the homes licensed and monitored on a regular basis by the agency. IBSER regularly visits the homes for inspections and interviews the children. Many of the children of the St. Joseph Family came to us at the request and referral of IBSER, evidence that they believe in the integrity of the St. Joseph Family and the safety of our homes. The IBSER is aware of the resurfacing of the charges against Michael and the St. Joseph Family and are supportive of our mission and of Michael personally.
- It is difficult to think the United States and Haitian governments completed an investigation. In 1990, The Institut du Bien Social et de Recherches (ISBAR) and the judicial system were part of the Haitian government that were in chaos during the overthrow of Aristide by the military. The United States Embassy closed and the United States imposed an embargo.
- People who establish orphanages are required to fill out forms and register. The ISBAR and the US Embassy have lists of registered orphanages. On their web sites, the lists include:
St. Joseph Boy’s
Delmas 91, Rue Herne #48
Director: Frère Joseph Jeilenfield
Demiere Maison Blanche A Gauche
Apres la Cimetiere
Petion Ville, Haiti
Director: Jeilenfield Michael
- Geilenfeld filed out the paperwork for St, Josephs and listed himself as Frere Joseph Jeilenfield.
- Wings of Hope and Trinity are not registered according to web sites that were updated in 2006 and 2010.
- According to several accounts, in 2011 the head of ISBAR was dismissed for allegations of mismanagement, including not visiting orphanages.
Also at the time of the “coup” there was an investigation of Michael and St. Joseph’s by the American Embassy and no charges were ever filed against Michael as a result of that investigation.
Because the history of the “coup” is documented and the fact that it happened is acknowledged by the St. Joseph Family and outside organizations, people seeking to make new charges for their own personal gain use the same or similar stories of abuse to try and seem credible. Charges of abuse, especially sexual abuse, are sensational and those seeking to manipulate or seek personal gain will use them to get attention and destroy reputations without hav- ing any proof. We also know of instances of our detractors offering money to current and former residents, and to other organizations, to create false charges against us to further their own agendas.
- What “personal gain” could people have who want an evaluation of charges?
- What organizations received money and who made offers to boys to make allegations?
- At Geilenfeld’s direction, many guests in Haiti and many donors who see the dance tour, give the boys money. Do Geilenfeld and his associates think those people pay the boys to make accusations?
We believe the new charges against Michael and the St. Joseph Family are based on two things. First of all, the St. Joseph Family has always had its share of detractors. People, for whatever reasons of their own, who questioned the integrity of the mission and of the people responsible for creating and leading the St. Joseph Family. We don’t know why they cannot see the good being done by the St. Joseph Family or why they seek to destroy the St. Joseph Family, but we accept that they exist and will look for any excuse to start rumors or make trouble where they can. We believe such actions by those detractors are instigated by the devil and creates a spiritual warfare. We pray for our de- tractors that God will change their hearts, and we pray for our supporters that they are protected from embracing such negativity.
- If there are questions of integrity, why are they not answered? What good is done when boys come and go, do not get nutritious food, clean water, regular medical and dental care and an education. Boys who grow up at St Josephs have little education and few job skills. Many are dependent on Geilenfeld and his associates and work at menial positions.
The second reason that the charges of abuse come about is based on the history of the population that the St. Joseph Family Board oF directorS luckner â€œmayaâ€ Fond-rose, chairman ~ Jacky asse, Vice-chairman ~ Bill Nathan ~ melchi petit-homme ~ Walnes cangas michael Geilenfeld ~ renee dietrich, SecretaryJoseph Family serves. The St. Joseph Family is made up primarily of children who spent part of their childhoods on the street and/or children who were child slaves. In those situations they had to lie and manipulate in order to survive. These tactics and habits, ingrained in their very beings, are hard to break, even after years in the supportive environment of the St. Joseph Family, and even as they matured into adulthood. They know simply making charges of abuse will get them attention and help them manipulate otherwise well-meaning people to giving them what they want â€” whether it be money, power, the ability to live in the United States, or something else.
- Thousands of children live at hundreds of orphanages in Haiti. Some orphanages have difficult living conditions, most attributed to poor funding. Some orphanages with children like those at St. Joseph’s, sponsored by US and Canadian organizations and non-profits that oversee the orphanages, are well managed and the children are nurtured and prepared to be contributing members of society. At these homes, including many homes for the handicapped, the children receive appropriate medical care, eat well, are educated, and many graduate from high school, pass the national exam and attend collage.
- In contrast, few of Geilenfeld’s boys pass the sixth or ninth grade national exams. Geilenfeld said his children will not study, run away, or he “kicks them out”.
The St. Joseph Family recognizes the fact that many of the children in its care were often physically, psychologically, emotionally and sexually abused prior to becoming a part of the St. Joseph Family. These are experiences that most people cannot imagine and have difficulty accepting. We abhor this reality and do everything in our power to help the children in our care to heal from past wounds, both physical and psychological. It is also paramount to the St. Joseph Family that once they become residents of one of our homes, that they live in safe and supportive environ- ments. Negative treatment in any form against the children is not tolerated by any member of the staff, leadership or guests. Any instances of abuse in any form, perpetrated by any individual on a child in the care of the St. Joseph Fam ily, are dealt with swiftly and severely.
The St. Joseph Family also recognizes that when children with a history of abuse find themselves in a safe place, they often are finally able to acknowledge internally and externally their past abuse, however how that takes place is often not in truthful and accurate ways. Children with histories of abuse often accuse people in their lives they feel safe with of abuse, abuse that was actually committed by others, because that is the only way they feel safe ac- knowledging their past experiences. The unfortunate thing is that because of their circumstances prior to joining the St. Joseph Family, many of the children did, in fact, experience abuse, so their stories are horrific and detailed and sound credible. However, the details of who the true abusers were and the specific circumstances of abuse are not accurate, but changed to suit their accusations.
- What is the source for the information that “Children with histories of abuse often accuse people in their lives they feel safe with of abuse, abuse that was actually committed by others”? A review of the academic literature and interviews with professional childcare advocates, does not support that statement.
The St. Joseph Family has detailed child health and safety policies we follow in the care of our children and running of our homes. Besides regular inspections of our homes by IBSER, we also host hundreds of guests in our homes each year, many of whom are mandated reporters of child abuse in their home countries â€” teachers, doctors, therapists, clergy, etc. â€” and many of those guests visit us several times a year and follow the progress of the children. These individuals are trained in the detection of abuse and are encouraged by the St. Joseph Family to share any obser- vations of questionable behavior or suspicions of abuse to the St. Joseph Family leadership. We have never had anyone with that background and expertise bring forth credible charges of abuse; and, in fact, have been told over and over again by such individuals what open, loving, supportive and healthy environments the homes of the St. Joseph Family are and have been complimented for the manner of respect and dignity they children are treated with by all members of the leadership and staff.
- ISBAR is not able to inspect many of the thousands of orphanages since they have few personal, little resources and recently was reprimanded for not inspecting orphanages.
- Evidently, whoever wrote this letter is not aware that several professionals, many who work on abuse of children, made accusations for many years. In 1990, those who made the initial allegations were professionals. Those who did additional interviews were social workers and judicial professionals with responsibilities that included child welfare. They thought the boys stories were creditable and warranted additional investigations by the judicial system. This did not happen because of the chaos during the army takeover and most government systems ceased to function. Since then, numerous other professionals have made allegations and asked for investigations. Rather than have independent evaluations of the children’s and adult’s allegations, Geilenfeld, members of Hearts with Haiti, the Haitian Timoun Foundation and their associates, malign those who ask for accountability. Why?
Because of the unregulated world of the internet, anyone can make charges about anything and by the simple fact that they are posted online, those charges can seem credible. However, we caution people to not believe every- thing you read online. False accusations exist and can be hurtful and damaging; and impossible to retract once they are on the internet. We welcome anyone seeking the truth to come to Haiti, talk to us, see our homes, experience the St. Joseph Family, talk to our supporters. In doing that you will see for yourselves what the truth is, and when you do we pray you have the courage to stand with us and live that truth in the face of these storms.
- False claims against some groups may exist.
- To those who want to ascertain the truth: do research, ask questions, compare other orphanages and homes for the handicapped with what you see at St. Joseph, Wings and Trinity. Check the creditability of the stories they tell about Geilenfeld’s former positions. Ask for transparency and accountability.
- Listen to the children who want protection and the adults who want justice. Pray for them.
Peace and Blessings,
Luckner â€œMayaâ€ Fond-Rose, Chairman SJF Board of Directors ~ Lead Servant for Mission Advancement for the SJF
Jacky Asse, Vice-Chairman SJF Board of Directors ~ Director of Wings of Hope
Bill Nathan, Member SJF Board of Directors ~ Director of St. Josephâ€™s Home for Boys
Melchi Petit-Homme, Member SJF Board of Directors ~ Director of Trinity House
Walnes Cangas, Member SJF Board of Directors ~ Assistant Director of St. Josephâ€™s Home for Boys
Michael Geilenfeld, Member SJF Board of Directors ~ Founder and Executive Director of the SJF
Renee Dietrich, Secretary SJF Board of Directors ~ Communications and Development for the SJF