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dimanche 21 février 2010

Fairfield Can’t Account for $120,500 After Probe.

Fairfield Can't Account for $120,500 After Probe


After an independent review of Fairfield's involvement in Project Pierre Toussaint, no problems were found, except for a lack of financial oversight that left $120,500 unaccounted for after being paid to former Campus Ministry Director Fr. Paul Carrier.

Read the full Day Pitney Summary Report.

Day Pitney was retained in Sept. 2009 to determine the nature and extent of the relationship between Fairfield, the Haiti Fund, and Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT) after the founder of PPT, Fairfield alumnus Doug Perlitz '92, was indicted on charges of traveling to engage in sexual activities with children. It also investigated when the University learned of the allegations.

But while absolving Fairfield of these charges, it highlighted a new problem: a lack of financial controls in Campus Ministry which allowed for $120,500 to be paid to Carrier with no documentation for how the money was spent.

Carrier was also the chairman of the board of directors of the Haiti Fund, which provided funding for PPT. Carrier was removed as chairman in 2008 as allegations of child abuse by Perlitz surfaced.

Perlitz operated PPT in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. He was charged in Sept. 2009 in what has grown to become 19 counts related to sexual abuse of children in Haiti.

According to the report , the independent investigation into Fairfield's involvement in Project Pierre Toussaint has determined that the University had no knowledge of the allegations of sexual abuse by Fairfield alumnus Doug Perlitz '92 until May 2, 2008. At that time, a representative of the Haiti Fund called University President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx to inform him of the allegations. The report also states that while the University was widely perceived as being affiliated with Perlitz, the Haiti Fund and PPT, there was no legal or fiduciary relationship with them.

But the report also states that approximately $604,000 in payments for the benefit of PPT were made through the University from 1997 to 2008. This money consisted of primarily donations from collections held during mass at the Egan Chapel as well as donations made through the University's Office of Development.

And during Carrier's time at Fairfield, payments of $97,500 were made to Carrier from Campus Ministry restricted accounts. In addition to this money, an additional $23,000 was paid to Carrier from the Campus Ministry operating account, bringing the total money to $120,500.

A lack of financial records prevented Day Pitney from determining the purpose of this money although Stanley A. Twardy, Jr., a former Connecticut U.S. attorney and partner in Day Pitney, said that there was "no evidence of diversions of funds."

University Board Chairman Paul J. Huston said that because of the increase in money over the years, Campus Ministry's system could not keep up with the new demand in addition to too much delegation. He also said that Carrier was "wearing two hats" as both Campus Ministry director and chairman of the Haiti Fund, so it made accounting even more difficult.

"While the investigation uncovered no specific wrongdoing, insufficient support documentation and a lack of segregation of duties were cited as control deficiencies," said Huston in a statement. "In the future, charitable donations collected on behalf of outside organizations will immediately be distributed directly to the organization."

The decision to remove Carrier in April 2006 by Fr. Thomas Regan, at the time the Jesuit Provincial and former Fairfield teacher, was based in no way on any allegations in connection with PPT according to the report and Regan.

The findings were reported late Wednesday afternoon, in an open meeting held by von Arx, Twardy and Huston.

Twenty-two current and former University employees were interviewed as well as Regan and employees of SunGard, a University software vendor. Over 29,000 internal documents were also reviewed.

Day Pitney hired UHY Advisors FLVS Inc., a forensic accounting and computer analysis firm, for assistance in the investigation. Carrier declined to comment through his attorney and Perlitz was also unable to be contacted.

Day Pitney is also counsel for the Diocese of Bridgeport, which is also represented by Philip Lacovara, who works for a different firm. Lacovara was a member of the Haiti Fund board who signed a letter supporting Perlitz.

Vice President of Marketing and Communications Rama Sudhakar said, "There was no conflict, as Fairfield University is a separate entity from the diocese of Bridgeport. And Mr. Lacovara is not affiliated with Fairfield University."

Von Arx also stressed that Fairfield has not distanced itself from PPT.

"We continue to be actively involved in Haiti," said von Arx. "We are in discussions with the current board of the Haiti Fund to explore how we might partner to reopen. We have continued to express our willingness to help the board and the discussions are ongoing."

The current board chairman, Michael McCooey, did not respond to messages on his phone seeking comment.

Von Arx also said that there were plans to make Haiti an integral part of the curriculum next year and highlighted the other charities and work Fairfield does in the community.

"We want to work as closley as we can with the Haiti Fund and we remain ready to assist the Haiti Fund as they ask us to. We are not walking away from PPT," said von Arx.

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7 Comments to "Fairfield Can't Account for $120,500 After Probe"

  1. Fairfield Supporter says:

    "The Program" should not be reinstated until the smoke clears and we know what's going on. I've read too much controversy in Haiti and at Fairfield.

    Hasn't Michael McCooey and Tim Joyce (Attorney and board member of the Alfred E. Smith Foundation) had something to do with the allocation of 'Haiti Fund' funds? I just don't trust anybody involved in this nightmare for Fairfield and I won't give any money to the program till the smoke clears. Its way too difficult to decipher what the heck is happening.

    Confused and Concerned Catholic

  2. Jimney says:

    "Fairfield Supporter" sounds like he or she may be one of the former Haiti Fund board members who has chosen to support, defend and protect a child molester, no matter the consequences, damage and destruction done to the school, the abuse victims and the other students.

    Perhaps, the writer is none other than Father Paul Carrier, whose separation from Doug may be causing him to suffer from emotional and physical withdrawal.

    As a self identified "Concerned Cartholic," the writer might consider directing his or her concerns towards feeding, clothing, and providing shelter for the boys who have been left to care for themselves. Should the boys wait until everything is "sorted out" before they are served a nutricious meal or provided with a safe place to sleep?

    "What would Jesus do" is much more than a hip slogan on a wristband.

  3. Something Funny Here... says:

    It's never a good sign when a priest just gets pulled from public ministry. Carrier was well respected and his abrupt removal is questionable. Everyone loved the guy at Fairfield and for him to leave so quickly and secretly spells trouble.

    First of all, Fairfield hired a biased law firm that deals with Catholic Ministry all the time, so of course they are going to say there was no prior knowledge of any abuse (I personally think it's bs)

    Second of all how does $120,500 just disappear. Duh, it's not rocket science. Money got pulled from the collection basket/ other university donations, records got destroyed and it got handed to Perlitz to do GOD knows what with, some bribes and crap.


  4. Scott2010 says:

    An independent review by the diocese's lawyers? That's the best they could arrange? This is a silly story. If it's just going to be a blatant whitewash, no need reporting it, just tell everyone problem solved and go back to sleep now, all's well at Fairfield.

  5. gloria sullivan says:

    I find the Roman Catholic Church to be a safe haven, the place for ANYONE[gays lesbians, tg, theives, murderes, con men, whom ever they are, who want to do just about anyrhing, mess around with children, or a place to find a boy or girl[mainly boys] young enough to not understand what's happening to them by this[God man or woman] trusted individual. They need money to do their evil, to bribe with liquor , cigarettes, candy, a car, a boat, an apartment, a hotel room, an ORPHANAGE, a campground, so they steal, saying I deserve this or maybe confess it to another predator. Where ever, whatever, somtimes if the parish is poor they do their evil in the rectory or a classroom or a basement or the confessional or, sometimes even on the alter. It makes me sick just to write this. It is so deplorable an act of evil that I don't see how any NORMAL person can look the other way. To condone such activities as these Bishops have done for just these 9 yrs, when we finally found out the real truth. This evil has been in place for milleniumms. This is complete proof that the RCC has been taken over by the Devil. It's been the place to go and a place to find sexual satisfactions ,by the lack of any type of watch dog. Canon Law says one thing and they do what they want, no oversight. Monetary greed, self agrandisement, elitisim, arrogance and all the traits of the DEVIL. Even their peers, who claim to be good priests or nuns are bad by not turning them in to the police. The Bishops do NOTHING but transfer the evil people to go murder the innocent again and again. ONE Catholic Priest or Nun needs a A CERTAIN AGE GROUP SO they ARE ALWAYS ON THE PROWL FOR YOUNGER AND & MORE INNOCENT and can USE 1000's of God's precious people, during one lifetime.
    "Through my fault ,through my fault, through my most griveous fault," these "chest beaters" held us accountable but never themselves, unless a traitor told on them. We're telling on them NOW! Then they were ousted. Maybe..not in Ireland, Germany India, Mexico, Spain etc.. Keep the sheeple in line and through the worst FEAR, a FEAR that you would go to hell if you disobeyed their laws. MEN'S LAWS NOT GOD'S LAWS. Oh how sickeningly brainwashed we were and some still are. They don't go to church anymore but are afraid to say they are not Catholic.(just in case ) IAM NOT A ROMAN CATHOLIC ANYMORE (194O CONVERT ) AND I'M PROUD TO SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR. I LOVE MY LORD AND SAVIOR MORE THAN I EVER DID AS A ROMAN CATHOLIC. God heard my prayers and knew my heart when I didn't know what was going on. Our family had many miracles through our love of HIM and not of an institution OR A PRIEST OR A NUN. Confession to a man, how dispicable to think a man took God's place. What a crock we bought, through the generations of FEAR. "The Lord has not given us a spirit of Fear but of POWER, LOVE AND A SOUND MIND. NOT A BRAINWASHED MIND, THAT ANYONE WHO STAYS WITH THEM, HAS. LEAVE WHILE YOU STILL HAVE A SOUL IN TACT.

    • Cat says:

      Woah. Conversion must have provided great serenity and wisdom.
      Is the Catholic Church safe for hetero abusers too or just gays?

  6. Paul Kendrick says:

    Jesus didn't pull any punches when he told us what he expects of us: "Feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty, help the stranger in need, provide clothing and safe shelter for the homeless, visit and care for the sick and imprisoned."

    Jesus didn't depend upon the advice of lawyers and senior aides to determine the public relations advantage or legal liability of his every word and action.

    President von Arx's recent statement and his ongoing delay in providing relief assistance to the boys who were sexually abused at Project Pierre Toussaint are but one more reason why these homeless street kids need immediate legal representation here in the United States. Pushing these kids around and/or taking advantage of them because of their status as impoverished Haitian children will not be tolerated by me or thousands of abuse victims, supporters and child protection advocates here in the United States. We stand in solidarity and communion with the boys in Haiti, now and forever.

    President von Arx, Order of Malta and New England Jesuit officials had their chance to do what is right and just almost two years ago when the investigation of Douglas Perlitz began and Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J. was suddenly removed as chairman of the Haiti Fund by Jesuit officials. Instead of rising up to help maintain the school, von Arx, et al. scurried away like mice trying to escape from a sinking ship. I cannot imagine how they did it, but somehow they all found a way to put out of mind the pained and frightened faces of the Haitian boys who were raped, sodomized and subsequently abandoned when they reported their abuse.

    Come to Haiti with me, President von Arx. Come and see.

    The entire Perlitz situation is a cesspool filled to the brim with prominent, influential and "devout" Catholics who have been busy these past two years either defending and supporting Perlitz, the child molester, or huddling with their attorneys to devise legal strategies to limit their liability.

    Am I but a lonely voice in the wilderness among the Fairfield University community when I keep calling attention to the fact that the boys who were sexually abused are living, breathing human beings who desperately need our support, love, understanding and compassion? These kids wake up hungry and go to sleep hungry. They sleep in alleys, empty buildings and on rooftops. They shiver in the chill of the night. When the boys reported to authorities that Perlitz was sexually abusing them, both the boys and the Cap-Haitian community received a loud and clear message: "You are lying. We will close the school."

    It is apparent to me that many, if not most, people are already experiencing a sense of fatigue about this issue and are more than ready to trust that President von Arx, New England Society of Jesus and Order of Malta officials are going to do the right thing. After all, von Arx said in his statement that he wants to help (and has offered to help) reopen the school.

    So how come no one is asking why von Arx is placing the burden of reopening the school on the same board of directors who were beaten down by Carrier and other prominent and influential Catholics in Fairfield County including, among others, a current employee of the Diocese of Bridgeport (Madeline Lacovara), the elected head of the Order of Malta in Connecticut (Thomas Tisdale) and a senior staff member of Fairfield University's campus ministry (Deborah Picarazzi)?

    So how come no one is asking why, in May 2008, Fairfield University officials refused to publish information on the University web site when the Jesuit Provincial ordered Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J. to resign as chairman of the Haiti Fund? Or, how about in September 2008, when University officials first knew that Perlitz had been fired as PPT's Executive Director and kept this information secret?

    So how come no one is asking why von Arx keeps issuing statements that attempt to distance Fairfield University's legal responsibility to the children who have been abandoned in Haiti instead of providing tangible solutions for the immediate reopening of the school in Haiti? It's been like pushing rope to get this particular Jesuit priest to do what's right and moral to help the children.

    If President von Arx is sincere in his efforts to provide a small measure of amends, reparations and restitution for the harms and injuries inflicted upon these boys as result of their abuse, then Fairfield University, New England Jesuit and Order of Malta officials will take it upon themselves to join in solidarity with the Haiti Fund board members to do whatever is necessary to reopen the school. There can be no doubt that these institutions have the human, financial and material resources necessary to help get the school up and running ASAP.

    And please, President von Arx, stop trying to convince us (and yourself) that you, Rev. Carrier's former employer, and Carrier's superiors at the New England Society of Jesus are in no way responsible for Carrier's role in the cover up of child sex abuse at Project Pierre Toussaint. In doing so, you diminish yourself in the eyes of meaningful and informed people everwhere.

    So let's stop kidding each other. By not properly monitoring and supervising Carrier, you neglected your responsibility to protect students and innocent children.

    Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

    Paul Kendrick
    Fairfield University '72

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