Perlitz Victims Receive Aid with Alum Visit

The Mirror
October 20, 2010

Without contributions from Fairfield University, the New England Jesuits, and the Order of Malta, Paul Kendrick’72 an advocate for the child sex abuse victims who were sexually abused by Fairfield alumnus, Doug Perlitz, is grateful to announce that Perlitz’s victims are slowly being enrolled in local Haitian schools.

Kendrick has been fighting tirelessly, along with Haitian journalist Cyrus Sibert, who first reported Perlitz’s abuse in late 2007, to get the 18 boys that were abused by Perlitz at his Project Pierre Toussaint School, back on track. He has called upon Fairfield University countless times to take responsibility and aid in the process of helping the boys, but has been met with nothing but silence and hostility.

In 2002, Perlitz was the keynote commencement speaker and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree. In 2005, Fairfield awarded Perlitz with the Alumni Humanitarian Award, but has now wiped its hand clean of the Haitian project, which was also spearheaded by former head of campus ministry, Rev. Paul Carrier, S.J.

When allegations against Perlitz first surfaced in early 2008, Carrier was suddenly removed from the Board of Directors and has since disappeared from public ministry and life, separating Fairfield University from the scandal even further.

This Homecoming Weekend, Kendrick plans on standing at the entrance of Fairfield again, like he did on the first day of school to distribute fliers about how to raise money for the boys. The administration has other plans for him, and after receiving a call from the head of security at Fairfield, Kendrick vows that he will, “not be censored by President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. in the pursuit of justice for the child sex abuse victims in Haiti.”

The phone call was apparently to go over ground rules for Kendrick’s visit to campus. Security claims that when Kendrick and Louis Elneus (a nonprofit organizer who provides textbooks for schools in Haiti) and two other advocates were on campus in September, they apparently received complaints that they were tying up traffic.

Kendrick said that this is simply not true. He also rations that there is no other way to distribute leaflets to cars pulling onto campus than to meet them.

Kendrick was not forcing the fliers on cars, or chasing down vehicles, he was simply standing with his arm outreached offering the flier to whoever opened their window to receive them. University officials were not pleased with him and responded, “This is the first day of class for the fall semester, and the University community’s responsibility is to focus on opening day activities and the students’ educational experience.”

The spokeswoman who commented for that story was Nancy Habetz; she and the picture of Perlitz with the boys of Project Pierre Toussaint School she had in her office, has since left.

After many unanswered emails to residents and other alumni groups of Fairfield, Kendrick reported that donations have trickled in, enabling the boys in Haiti to be provided with some of their basic needs, including rice and beans, medical treatment, shelter and uniforms and shoes (which are needed to be enrolled in school). “Step by step, we’re getting the boys back in school,” he said. But still, the donors are just a few people, among how many alumni, among how many Fairfield residents, and among how many Jesuits in the world.

Kendrick has contacted numerous members of administration, including campus ministry and has been met with silence. He is in constant contact with Cyrus, who has been working diligently to try and make sure the boys have all that they need.

Kendrick’s recent project, which asked for two dollars per day for the 20 boys abused, would guarantee the boys a ration of rice and beans for that day. This weekend he will continue to raise the consciousness of the entire Fairfield University community.

Kendrick said that the Fairfield administration, faculty, students and alumni are sending a strong message to the boys who were abused and to the people of Haiti: “If your child reports to us that he or she has been sexually abused by one of us, we will close the school and put you back on the streets with no place for you to live and nothing for you to eat. We will abandon you.”


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