|No Money Coming from Fairfield U. for Haiti Sex Abuse Victims
By Michael P. Mayko
October 23, 2010
FAIRFIELD — Paul Kendrick woke up Saturday morning with confidence and hope.
The Maine advocate for victims of sexual abuse at Doug Perlitz' Project Pierre Toussaint in Haiti was confident he would convince Fairfield University President Jeffrey von Arx to contribute $25,000 to help school, feed and treat 20 of the young victims.
After all, Kendrick claims Fairfield University is partly responsible. They promoted Pertliz and heaped honors on the 1992 graduate who created a three-stage program to help feed, clothe and educate street boys in Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second largest city. Then in August, following a yearlong legal battle, Perlitz pleaded guilty to a federal charge of traveling to Haiti to engage in sex with one minor boy.
"I'm going to tell von Arx I have a desperate situation and they are partly responsible," said Kendrick, a 1972 Fairfield University graduate who had sought this meeting for nearly a year. "I need the money to get these kids through April."
As Kendrick made the walk to the meeting, his associates — including the Rev. Robert Hoatson, who operates Road to Recovery in Livingston, N.J., for victims of sexual abuse by clergy; Paul Kellen, a founder of National Survivor Advocates Coalition; Dick Regan and Kevin Waldrip, both victims — and others handed out 300 leaflets describing the plight to people entering the North Benson Road gate to celebrate Parents' and Homecoming weekend.
About an hour later, Kendrick returned dejected and disappointed.
"It was low tone and cordial," Kendrick said before adding, "He's not going to help us. I've just got to keep trying to Band-Aid this."
Kendrick then gave a lengthy filmed interview to CNN. The station plans to broadcast a lengthy segment about the Perlitz case during its Dec. 20 edition of "Anderson Cooper 360." It will come the night before Perlitz is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton at the federal courthouse in New Haven.
"I warned Paul the church usually uses these events not to reach out in a positive Gospel manner, but to avoid more negative publicity," said Hoatson, who, because of his work with survivors of clergy abuse, is on administrative leave from the Newark Diocese.
The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are arranging to fly six of the victims and two of the officials from the school to speak at the sentencing. Also expected to come is Cyrus Sibert, the journalist who exposed the abuse in a 2007 series of reports.
Mark Gregorio, a spokesman for Fairfield University, said the school would not be making a comment on the private meeting.
Earlier he released a statement in which the university maintains it has "identified partners in Connecticut and Cap-Haitien" and is in discussion with them with the hope of reaching "a resolution soon on how best to provide significant assistance to the children of Cap-Haitien and the former residents of Project Pierre Toussaint."
"I can't tell you how disappointed I am," Kendrick said. "I'm a guy who never ceases to be amazed by leaders of the Catholic Church."
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