mardi 27 janvier 2015
U.S. child protection advocates issue open letter to Haiti Minister of Justice.-
HAITIAN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS MUST BE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY IN HAITI COURT.
January 26, 2015
Pierre Richard Casimir
Minister of Justice and Public Security
Republic of Haiti
Dear Minister of Justice Casimir,
We are writing to you to request your vigilance and guardianship concerning due process in the criminal case against Michael Geilenfeld, a U.S. citizen and Executive Director of the St. Joseph Family of Homes, headquartered in Port au Prince, Haiti.
It is a sad and disturbing fact that Haitian children are often abused and exploited by individuals who come to Haiti under the guise of helping them.
It is discouraging for us to learn that child sexual abuse complaints against Mr. Geilenfeld have been known to Haitian National Police officials and U.S. Embassy investigators in Port au Prince for the past twenty five years, yet Mr. Geilenfeld was able to remain in Haiti with unlimited access to vulnerable children.
The testimonies of the Haitian abuse victims must not be silenced.
As you are aware, Attorney Alain Lemithe, your law partner at the Lissade Law Firm in Port au Prince, is lead defense counsel for Mr. Geilenfeld in Haiti.
Attorney Lemithe represents Mr. Geilenfeld in the Haiti Court.
Victims and witnesses must be allowed to present evidence and testimony against Mr. Geilenfeld in the transparency and openness of the Haiti justice system.
Since the 1980s, boys who resided at Mr. Geilenfeld's St. Joseph's Home for Boys orphanage have alleged emotional, physical and sexual abuse by Mr. Geilenfeld.
As a result of numerous reports of abuse, IBESR officials ordered the removal of all minor children from the orphanage in February 2014.
Seven months later, in September 2014, Haitian government officials closed the orphanage and arrested and imprisoned Geilenfeld.
The children who were abused, their families, and the Haitian society, have a legitimate right to expect that the criminal charges against Michael Geilenfeld are thoroughly investigated and vetted in the Haiti court system.
Paul Kellen, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, 781-395-3628
Ruth Moore, Speak Truth to Power, 781-264-6519
Harvey Paul, former Maine Director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 207-321-9518
Ken Scott, member, Call to Action.
Michael Sweatt, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, 207-831-3791
Marie Tupper, child protection activist, 207-633-4608
Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, 937-272-0308