|Fairfield University Alummus Holds University President's Feet to Fire
By Paul Kendrick
August 31, 2010
A Fairfield University alumnus will hold a demonstration and hand out fliers on the Fairfield University campus to protest the abandonment of child sex abuse victims in Haiti by Fairfield University sponsored admitted child rapist.
For two and one-half years, Fairfield University has abandoned and ignored the homeless, street children in Haiti who were sexually abused by Douglas Perlitz, former executive director of Fairfield University created and sponsored – Project Pierre Toussaint.
Fairfield University President Jeffrey von Arx won't even help the victims by donating a measly $2 per day, per boy, to help provide for their basic needs of food, water, safe shelter, medicine and education.
In recent months, the boys in Haiti who were raped and sodomized by Perlitz have been receiving a daily ration of rice, beans and spaghetti provided by the generosity of abuse victims/survivors and supporters, mostly in the Boston area. In addition, the boys have each received a pair of shoes. Over $6,000 has been raised, but funds are running out. Immediate help is needed from Fairfield University.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
On the public sidewalk at the main entrance to Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Rd., Fairfield , Connecticut, 06824. (President Jeffrey von Arx has not responded to two requests for authorization to hand out leaflets on campus in front of the Campus Center.)
Paul Kendrick, Fairfield University, '72, will be joined by victims of priest sex abuse, supporters and advocates for those who have been abused and members of the Haitian community.
Here is a copy of the text of the leaflets:
Fairfield University basked in the shining grace of Project Pierre Toussaint
There can be no argument that the Fairfield University community proudly aligned itself with Doug Perlitz's humanitarian work in Haiti. In the minds of many, Perlitz was the personification of a Jesuit education; he was a "Person for Others."
For eleven years, Fairfield University's campus ministry operation, under the direction of Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J., immersed itself in Project Pierre Toussaint. The Egan Chapel was filled with photos, newsletters, etc. about Perlitz and Project Pierre Toussaint. Father Carrier traveled to Haiti almost once a month and spoke with Perlitz by phone several times each day.
Carrier was always asking the editors of university magazines and newsletters to publish stories about the Haiti project. In addition, Carrier raised money for the Project whenever he spoke at local parishes. In many ways, Paul Carrier was the kind of guy a non-profit would like to have on their team. He was a successful, energetic, charismatic "rainmaker" who knew how to tug at people's hearts.
Carrier used a Fairfield University mailing address to accept donations for the Haiti Fund, Inc., a non-profit corporation that was established by Carrier to oversee the Haiti Project. Carrier chaperoned many "Ignatian Immersion Experience" trips to Haiti with students from the University. In 2002, the University awarded Perlitz an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and Perlitz was asked to deliver the commencement address. In 2005, Perlitz was the recipient of the Alumni Humanitarian Award at the annual Fairfield University Awards Dinner in New York City.
Then, in April 2006, for reasons still not entirely clear, Carrier was removed without warning as Director of Fairfield's Campus Ministry to embark upon a sabbatical to prepare for his next assignment. Two years later in April 2008, Jesuit Provincial Thomas Regan, S.J., ordered Carrier to resign as Chairman of the Haiti Fund, Inc. and to resign from his non-salaried teaching position at the Sacred Heart Convent School in Greenwich. In October 2009, it was announced by the Provincial that Carrier was restricted from all public ministry. There have been no charges of child sex abuse against Carrier.
In October 2008, Dr. Mark Reed, Vice President for Administrative and Student Affairs at Fairfield University was approached with a reasonable request to help protect children (at the time, Perlitz's whereabouts were unknown).
"If a person were to visit the Fairfield University web site and enter "Douglas Perlitz" in the search bar, one would immediately view 25 Fairfield University press releases about Perlitz. After reading the press releases, one would think that Perlitz is a saint, a special individual who has devoted his life to helping others. Think about this. If the owner of a day care center googled Perlitz's name as part of the hiring process, he or she would think they hit the jackpot and would most likely hire Perlitz immediately. They would have no idea that the Project Pierre Toussaint Board of Directors is on record as having fired Perlitz for the sexual abuse of children … Please ensure that the information about why Douglas Perlitz was fired as Executive Director of Project Pierre Toussaint (you can publish the Board's public letter) is published on the Fairfield University website … Protecting innocent children from cunning and manipulative child molesters is everyone's job, Dr. Reed." Paul Kendrick, Fairfield University, '72
Reed did nothing. Six months later, in April 2009, Reed was sent a copy of the warrant for Perlitz's arrest that had just been issued by a Haitian National Court judge. Again, Reed took no action. Other senior officials, including President von Arx were sent copies of all correspondence with Reed. Von Arx did nothing.
The Children Left Behind
By April 2008, the New England Society of Jesus and Fairfield University officials were distancing themselves from a situation that had all the earmarks of a "scandal." Although Perlitz wasn't fired by the Board of Directors until August 2008, Carrier had been ordered to resign from the Haiti Fund Board four months earlier. Sadly, it is evident that neither Carrier nor Jesuit and Fairfield University officials cared anything about the well being of the boys in Haiti who were abused and about to be displaced.
Where were the prophetic voices of President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. and Jesuit Provincial, Thomas Regan, S.J., in September 2008 when Carrier and other former board members sent a letter to financial donors in which they disparaged and berated the individuals who fired Perlitz and not so subtly implied that the Haitian boys were lying?
Why weren't these Jesuit priests rushing to the aid of the remaining and beaten down Haiti Fund Board of Directors who were fighting for the school's survival against Carrier and his allies. It is incredible that three Jesuit priests, von Arx, Carrier and Regan stood on the sidelines and said nothing as the Project's donors stopped giving, the Project closed and helpless kids were forced back onto the streets with nothing to eat and no place safe to sleep.
Damn. Somewhere in our old textbooks it says that the service of our faith must include the promotion of justice.
Someone's eyes were closed
In a June 2002 address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled "The Experience of the Victim of Sexual Abuse," Dr. Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, Ph.D. said in part,
"If it takes a community to raise a child, it also takes a community to abuse one so that whenever a minor is sexually violated, someone's eyes are closed. Throughout history and in every segment of society, the most common response to the suspicion or even the disclosure of childhood sexual abuse has been self-defensive denial and dissociation. No one finds it easy to stand in the overwhelming and destabilizing reality of sexual abuse. Thus, blindness, deafness, and elective mutism are responses endemic to many confronted by a victimized child, an adult survivor, or a perpetrating adult. To the extent, however, that the sexual victimization of a minor depends upon the silence of adults who knew, suspected, or should have known about the abuse, the burdens of shame and reparation reach beyond the perpetrator."
The Fairfield University community is showing great disrespect to the Haitian people
The people of Haiti possess great pride, strength and dignity. There is a kindness and compassion about them that only those who have been oppressed and those who have suffered can know.
It is inconceivable that the mighty and powerful forces of the New England Jesuits, Fairfield University (and the Order of Malta) have not provided for the most basic needs of the child sex abuse victims.
Each day that goes by and the school in Haiti remains closed is but one more day that we are showing great disrespect for the people of Haiti. As it stands now, our message to our brothers and sisters in Haiti is loud and clear: "One of us raped your children. Your children told us what happened. In response we have closed your school and abandoned you.'
"I hope God forgives me for what I have done," said a boy who was sexually abused by Perlitz.
"It wasn't your fault," we told him.
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