File Photo: Connecticut Post
Douglas Perlitz, Fairfield University President Father Jeffrey von Arx, and now UN Deputy Envoy to Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer at the school's Fall convocation on September 8, 2006. On Wednesday August 18, 2010, Douglas Perlitz pleaded guilty to sexual abusing eight homeless Haiti boys. Perlitz will be sentenced on Dec. 21.*************************************
Ezili’s HLLN thanks the prosecuting team and urges pursuit of restitution from Perlitz on behalf of the victims By Ezili Dantò for HLLN, Haiti Perspectives, August 18, 2010
In court today, Douglas Perlitz, admitted to sexually abusing homeless Haiti boys who he'd recruited into the Pierre Tossaint Project school he founded in Haiti.
Our thank you and sincere admiration goes out to the US Department of Justice staff and homeland security staff and all authorities who worked so diligently to bring some justice to the small children in Cap Haitien, Haiti, abused and molested by Douglas Perlitz. (See press release from US Dept of Justice, District of Connecticut below entitled - Founder of Haitian School for boys admits to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors; Perlitz to plead guilty today ; UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children and The Douglas Perlitz Case .)
Being the first of its kind in the United States, this case sets a good precedent and deterrent – warning all who prey on the helpless in Haiti masking it with false benevolence that impunity no longer rules. It’s not often there’s good news for Haiti’s children, but this news is most welcomed and duly appreciated. Special thank you to Rod Khattabi at the US Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for his meticulous investigation work. In pleading guilty, Douglas Perltiz admitted that, on various dates between 2001 and 2008, he traveled from the United States to Haiti and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with at least eight minor victims of Haiti. Sentencing is scheduled for December 21, 2010, at which time Douglas Perlitz faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, a fine of up to $250,000 as well as restitution to his victims. In court, Douglas Perlitz did not dispute lead counsel for the prosecuting team, Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel's claim that she had evidence Douglas Perlitz engaged in sex with at least eight underage boys and as many as 13. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Douglas Perlitz faces anywhere from eight years and one month in prison to 19 years and seven months in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 21 by Judge Janet Bond Arterton. Federal law provides no parole. Whatever sentence Perlitz gets will be the amount of time he serves, minus 54 days granted every year for good behavior. Also, when Perlitz is released from prison, he must register as a sex offender, as well as spend anywhere from five years to the rest of his life being supervised by the US. Probation Department. Should he commit any crime while on supervision, he could be sent back to prison for another five years.
Special thanks and congratulation for a job well done to the dedicated legal team at the United States Attorney office, District of Connecticut. Especially lead counsel, Assistant United States Attorneys Krishna R. Patel along with Stephen B. Reynolds and Richard J. Schechter. The Haitian National Police Department’s Brigade of Protection of Minors, journalist Cyrus Sibert of Haiti, the teachers at the Perlitz orphanage who spoke up on behalf of the abused children and the others who stepped up, came to Ezili’s HLLN with complaints against Perlitz way back in 2005 who wish to remain anonymous, all, including Paul Kendrick from the US and SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, who have supported the victims, merit acknowledgment and chapo ba for pursuing this matter on behalf of powerless, hungry, homeless and defenseless children in Haiti with no voice.
These wounded children went up against the resources of the more wealthy in Haiti and the charity and religious workers within Douglas Perlitz’s entourage in Haiti, at the Catholic Church establishment in Haiti, in Connecticut, in Westchester County and at the Haiti Fund, Fairfield University in Connecticut, some who helped him bribe children not to testify, defamed the children, sent Ezili’s HLLN threatening letters and threats, removed computers, a safe and other evidence of Douglas Perlitz’ repugnant crimes in Haiti. Thanks also to all the Ezili's Network members who wrote to the judge at the beginning of this case to ask that Perlitz stay in jail until trial.
Clearly Perlitz preferred a cushy private jail in upstate New England than doing jail time in New York. Still, we believe not only the imminent transfer to a New York jail, but perhaps the idea of meeting concerned Haitians who live in New York, the second largest enclave of Haitians living in the United States, and who are willing to be present for defenseless Haiti children in a New York courthouse was such an unappealing factor to Perlitz, he decided to come clean and plead guilty, stay in the more cushy Rhode Island jail. So we thank the radio listeners of LakouNewYork who answered Ezili HLLN's call and took a bus from New York to Connecticut to support the children of Haiti during one hearing where Perlitz lawyers were attempting his release on bail. The case in Connecticut had been dismissed before Perlitz decided to admit guilt, while an indictment was working its way in New York. (See, New York Arrest Warrant - PERLITZ Douglas http://bit.ly/cJI0Vt)
We thank the reporters who stayed with this case and filed in-depth reporting on this, from the beginning, including Michael P. Mayko at the Connecticut Post and Chris Simmons and Tom O'Leary at the Fairfield Mirror. Chapo ba to all!
We hope this matter is not dropped after the December sentencing of Perlitz and that more reporting is done by other journalists to expose, what only Ezili’s HLLN has been exposing for years: the epidemic of UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children.
May the pursuit of restitution from Perlitz be successful so that these victims, whose childhood were destroyed, made so much more hellish than what they had to began with, provide means for the devastated victims to get counseling, an education and psychological treatment so this crime stops at this generation. To the courageous Haiti children who testified, even while being threatened by other charity workers supporting Perlitz, we say again, Ayibobo! Kenbe la, nou la, nou p ap lage. Batay la fek komanse.
Ezili’s HLLN urges the authorities in Haiti to also prosecute Douglas Perlitz and to set up protection, schooling and treatment for all children victims of sexual tourism in Haiti. There are many more Douglas Perlitz-type charity and priest-folks in Haiti right now, being coddled and protected by Haiti innkeepers, hotels owners, NGO relief workers, making money from the rentals of rooms, houses and orphanages in which our tiny children are being systematically raped, abused and trained, as Perlitz did to these children, to service pedophiles.
No words can express our disgust at the Haiti authorities, UN leadership authorities and wealthier in Haiti who turned their face from the plight of defenseless, abused children and in fact, condone their rape and molestation by their silence and inactions. That is why we are sending out this heartfelt thank you to all those who set this precedent of prosecution and encourage more such cases be brought from the many complaints and cases currently in hand with the authorities.
President, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
August 18, 2010
"They don't give money to help out the kids, they must have hard hearts to let us suffer everywhere."- A Haiti quake orphan." (Video - http://bit.ly/auhazd Haiti's orphans still in crisis - promised aid has not materialized, yet billions have been raised in the name of 2 million homeless and dying Haiti earthquake victims and is available. More than 8-months later we're still at ground zero.)
Ezili Network members from New York arrive at CT court to protest granting bail for Perlitz. (Go to: Chris Simmons Mirror's photostream, Oct. 28, 2009.)
U.S. ATTORNEY Press Release -- FOUNDER OF HAITIAN SCHOOL FOR BOYS ADMITS TO ENGAGING IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH MINORSU.S.
Department of Justice
United States Attorney District of Connecticut
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2010
CONTACT: Tom Carson
Public Information Office
FOUNDER OF HAITIAN SCHOOL FOR BOYS ADMITS TO ENGAGING IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT WITH MINORS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston, announced that DOUGLAS PERLITZ, 40, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. In pleading guilty, PERLITZ, a former Connecticut resident and the founder and director of Project Pierre Toussaint, a boys school in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, admitted that, on various dates between 2001 and 2008, he traveled from the United States to and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with eight minor victims.
“Millions of people in Haiti face a daily challenge simply to survive,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “This defendant preyed on impoverished and powerless street children in Haiti, enticing them with significant benefits such as food, shelter, clothing and education, only to exploit his position of trust and sexually abuse the boys under his care. I commend the extraordinary strength and courage of the minor victims in this case who came forward and spoke out about the abuse that they suffered in order to protect others from harm and so that justice would prevail. I also want to acknowledge the unceasing commitment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which devoted and continues to devote significant resources to investigate matters involving American citizens who travel abroad to sexually abuse minors.”
“ICE investigates sex tourism aggressively with the help of our international offices, and our international and domestic law enforcement partners such as the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office,” stated ICE Special Agent in Charge Foucart. “This case demonstrates our international resolve to ensure that those who prey on children – the most vulnerable members of any society – do not go unpunished.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, in approximately 1997, PERLITZ obtained funding to found Project Pierre Toussaint (“PPT”). Initially, PPT began as an intake center referred to as the 13th Street Intake Program. PPT provided services to children of all ages, most of whom were street children. The services provided for the children included meals, sports activities, basic classroom instruction, and access to running water for baths. PPT continued to expand and, in approximately 1999, a residential facility, Village Pierre Toussaint (referred to as the “Village”), was added. The Village was staffed primarily by Haitians, but PERLITZ was directly involved with the Village.
In approximately 1999, The Haiti Fund, Inc. was incorporated as a charitable, religious and educational organization in Connecticut, and operated as the fund-raising arm of PPT. The Haiti Fund raised large sums of money through fund-raising efforts in Connecticut. All of the expenses associated with PPT were paid for by monies raised on behalf of PPT by the Haiti Fund.
At various times between 2001 and 2008, PERLITZ traveled from airports in the U.S. to Haiti to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors and did, in fact, engage in sexual conduct with minor boys who attended school at PPT. PERLITZ abused his position of authority to entice and persuade the minors to comply with the sex acts by providing the promise of food and shelter and other benefits, including cash, cell phones, electronics, shoes, clothes, and other items.
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for December 21, 2010, at which time PERLITZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
PERLITZ has been detained since his arrest in Colorado on September 16, 2009. On September 15, 2009, a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned an indictment charging PERLITZ with 10 counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of minors in Haiti.
On January 28, 2010, the grand jury returned a 19-count superseding indictment. On April 21, 2010, the grand jury returned a 24-count second superseding indictment.
On July 14, 2010, Judge Arterton granted PERLITZ’s motion to dismiss the second superseding indictment for improper venue, finding that none of the essential conduct elements of the crimes charged took place in Connecticut. The Court’s ruling, however, addressed only the question of venue – where a prosecution may be brought – and not the merits of the case. In its ruling, the Court stated that its dismissal for improper venue did “not prohibit the Government from seeking an indictment against Perlitz in judicial district(s) in which venue would be proper,” such as districts in which Perlitz boarded a flight to Haiti with the intent to engage in, or after which he subsequently engaged in, illicit sexual conduct with minors.
The Government remained committed to pursuing the charges as permitted by the Court’s ruling and, on July 15, 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, working in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, obtained an arrest warrant for PERLITZ in the Eastern District of New York, based on his travel originating from John F. Kennedy International Airport in that district.
Although the Government was prepared to present those charges to a grand jury in the Eastern District of New York, the defendant instead chose to waive venue and plead guilty in the District of Connecticut. As part of the plea, and in light of the defendant’s admissions, the Government has agreed to seek dismissal of the charges that currently remain pending in the Eastern District of New York after the defendant is sentenced in Connecticut.
“I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York for its support and cooperation in helping to bring this defendant to justice,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.
This matter is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in New Haven, with the assistance of ICE in Grand Junction, Colorado ICE International Affairs in Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean Attaché, the U.S. Department of State Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti; and private individuals in the United States and Haiti, whose assistance has been critical to the successful prosecution of this case.
U.S. Attorney Fein also acknowledged the critical assistance provided by the Haitian National Police Department’s Brigade of Protection of Minors.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Krishna R. Patel, Stephen B. Reynolds and Richard J. Schechter.
Forwarded by Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)
Recommended HLLN Links:
Douglas Perlitz Guilty Plea
Perlitz to plead guilty today - http://bit.ly/9y4wJa
Founder of Haitian charity pleads guilty to sex charges, Boston Herald
The Collar of Impunity: Sexual abuse of Haiti children by Priests, Charity Workers - Help children survivors of Sexual abuse by Priests and Charity Workers in Haiti