August 7, 2011
600 SW Third Street, Suite 2201
Pompanao Beach, Florida 33060
RE: CHILD PROTECTION POLICY FOR HAITI
Thank you again for wanting to help formulate a Child Abuse Protection Plan and Code of Behavior that can be universally practiced in schools, orphanages and institutions in Haiti.
In this letter, I am including Victor Vieth, Executive Director of the National Child Protection Training Center (www.ncptc.org), located at Winona State University in Minnesota and Stephanie Smith, NCPTC Regional Director, located at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. I am hoping that at the conclusion of your due diligence, Cross International will agree to provide funding to NCPTC for the purpose of putting together a comprehensive child protection plan, specific to the needs of Haiti, that would include a code of behavior and awareness and education training program.
My experience in Haiti has shown me that this is not a simple task. For instance, in the Project Pierre Toussaint abuse situation in northern Haiti, local business leaders immediately supported Douglas Perlitz, the abuser and said the victims are lying. After all, Perlitz brought $300,000 U.S. dollars into the Cap Haitian economy each year in the form of teacher's salaries, food and supplies. Perlitz built a new home for the mother of two of the boys he was abusing. Perlitz threatened to throw poor, homeless, street kids out of his school if they told anyone about the abuse. And, even though a high ranking senior Haitian staff member confronted Perlitz about the abuse, Perlitz continued to abuse kids and made things so difficult for the "whistle blower" that the employee quit. Keep in mind, that in such a poor country as Haiti, if the school closed the "whistle blower" would become unemployed.
During the past three years, I have been involved in three different situations in Haiti in which a high ranking NGO employee and/or staff member has been convicted or accused of child sex abuse.
In December 2010, American citizen Douglas Perlitz, former executive director of Project Pierre Toussaint in Cap Haitian, was sentenced in New Haven, CT federal court to almost 20 years in prison. In addition, beginning in April 2011, the first of twenty two civil lawsuits was filed in U.S. federal court in Connecticut on behalf of Perlitz's victims.
In January 2011, Cyrus Sibert (a Haitian journalist) and I began receiving information from many abuse victims and supporters that Michael Geilenfeld, executive director of the St. Joseph's Homes in Port au Prince, Haiti, is sexually abusing children. Child protection advocates began lobbying for an investigation of Geilenfeld by United Nations and Homeland Security/ICE investigators. Such an investigation is now in progress. Geilenfeld is a former member of the Brothers of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order founded by Mother Theresa.
In May, 2011, Brother Robert Anthony Campbell, FSD, a member of the Franciscans of San Damiano (a religious order not recognized by the Vatican nor the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany), wrote the following on his personal blog: "I showered him (a naked 11 year-old Haitian boy) from head to toe, scrubbed his hair and washed his shorts. I also found time to re-apply the cream I've been using to help his rash...it was frustrating to shower him and re-dress him in clean underwear, shorts and a t-shirt then let him leave barefoot."
When I posted a comment on Campbell's blog asking why he was rubbing soap all over the naked body of an 11 year-old boy, Campbell removed all of my comments from his blog and no new comments were allowed. Two days later, Campbell shut down his web site entirely. A week later, his religious superior ordered Campbell to leave Haiti and return to Troy, NY.
Meanwhile, Rev. Marc Boisvert, OMI, a Maine native and the executive director of Pwoje Espwa in Les Cayes, Haiti where Brother Campbell was working, refuses to answer any and all questions about the incident. Members of Pwoje Espwa's U.S. board of directors are also close mouthed about the matter. One director, an attorney here in Portland has been particularly hostile towards me for asking questions about Campbell's behavior and the safety of children at Pwoje Espwa.
Jim, as you are well aware, Cross International provides Pwoje Espwa with $500,000 per year in funding. In past correspondence, I asked why your organization provides large amounts of money to an organization such as Pwoje Espwa that a) is not being open and transparent about the Brother Campbell incident and b) does not have a child protection plan and code of behavior in place for its staff and volunteers.
I am hoping that you and I can arrange a conference call with Victor and Stephanie at NCPTC to further explore how they and their staff can help members of your organization, myself and other child protection advocates and, above all, members of the Haitian community led by Cyrus Sibert of Cap Haitian, to assist us in formulating a Child Protection Plan that can be universally applied throughout Haiti.
Thank you, Jim, for your concern and willingness to make a difference in this important matter.
Paul T. Kendrick
207 838 1319
Victor Vieth, Executive Director, NCPTC
Stephanie Smith, Regional Director, NCPTC
William Commer, Chairman of Free the Kids (fundraising arm of Pwoje Espwa)
Michael Henry, former Haiti Peace Corps Volunteer, Cross International
Robert Hoatson, President, Road to Recovery
Paul Kellen, National Survivor Advocates Coalition
Ruth Moore, STTOP
Cyrus Sibert, Haitian journalist and child protection advocate
Michael Sweatt, National Survivor Advocates Coalition
Ann Hagen Webb, Ed.D., Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
____________________"La vraie reconstruction d'Haïti passe par des réformes en profondeur des structures de l'État pour restaurer la confiance, encourager les investisseurs et mettre le peuple au travail. Il faut finir avec cette approche d'un État paternaliste qui tout en refusant de créer le cadre approprié pour le développement des entreprises mendie des millions sur la scène internationale en exhibant la misère du peuple." Cyrus Sibert
Reconstruction d'Haïti : A quand les Réformes structurelles?
Haïti : La continuité du système colonial d'exploitation prend la forme de monopole au 21e Siècle.
WITHOUT REFORM, NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN HAITI (U.S. Senate report.)