It was a good day for justice and decency: Douglas Perlitz sentenced to nearly 20 years for sex abuse in Haiti, followed by 10 years supervised release
- Members of the local Haitian community arrive at the Richard C. Lee United States Courthouse in downtown New Haven, Conn. to attend the sentencing hearing for Doug Perlitz on Tuesday December 21, 2010. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post**************************
- U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel speaks to the media outside the Richard C. Lee United States Courthouse after the sentencing of Douglas Perlitz in downtown New Haven, Conn. on Tuesday December 22, 2010. Photo: Christian Abraham ( Perlitz sentenced to nearly 20 years for sex abuse in Haiti )
YEAH!!!! Judge Arterton did it! Her sentencing and the ruling at sentencing lifted up the dignity and value of these abused Haiti children. Judge Arterton gave this much thought and thorough consideration. After almost seven hours of testimony, Judge Arterton said, "If one digs a well to supply water to those who have never had water, and then that person poisons the water, was building that well a good deed?"
2010 has been the most horrendous year for Haitians.
There was an apocalyptic earthquake, which killed over 300,000 Haitians in 33 seconds; tarp cities of 1.5 million homeless earthquake victims still remain one year later, with little of the rubble removed. There's the more than 16,000 NGO/charity people collecting over $2 billion in donations, much of it unspent as the intended beneficiaries suffer and die. The rainy season brought hurricane Tomas and UN-imported cholera killing thousands upon thousands of vulnerable Haitians while the US/OAS and international community insisted on Haiti elections under these impossible circumstances that were essential not free, not inclusive and without an electorate. To top it all off, the Obama administration resume deportations to Haiti. It's inhumane that this was the good news for 2010. But that's what one grateful Haitian man said to me following the court hearing.
Judge Arterton also said she read every letter sent. I think the maximum sentence reflected this. USGA, Krishna Patel was slamming! I mean really good in nailing her case! Doug Perlitz's lawyer rambled on, called the children the "scourge of the earth," "below dirt," and said Haiti was so dark, pessimistic and negative, it contributed to Perlitz's downward spiral into abuse. The man was unnecessarily offensive.
It was a privilege and honor to thank the US government team and Rod Khattabi. A true pleasure. They did a spectacular job. It was heartbreaking listening to the children testimony. Six came up from Haiti along with two of the teachers who first listened to them and tried to stop Perlitz. True, true heroes - Margarette Joseph and Robinson Gedeus!!! Along with everyone else who came from the Network, we had four lawyers there from HLLN- Bob Celestin, Henri Alexandre, Mayor Joseph Makhandal Champagne and I. Thanks guys! Now we've got to find some trauma counseling, authentic education, shelter and a non-dependent, self-reliant, skills-transfer way to help these children - now young men, move forward.
Thanks all who wrote to Judge Arterton. A good day for justice and decency today! But you all know how Haiti victories are always bittersweet. Triumph trickled in with tears. In the car going home I started thinking how we met the children tonight at a well-appointed hotel in New Haven to say chapo ba and toast their courage, let them know how we cared. Thanks much to the persons who made this encounter happen. The children were surrounded by wonderful US government folks there to protect them and help them navigate. There was heat, electricity, light, clean drinking water, furniture - comfort. I saw and smelled a buffet of good food when we met them. But tomorrow they're going back. They'll be in Haiti. Some, perhaps back in the streets with no roof over their heads. It's just so unfair, even surreal the disparity in living circumstances between the poor and this moment for them. What will it do to their minds? I think about it. But for this moment, right now, these vilely abused children know a group of people, far away and from every race, stood up for them, helped give them an international voice. Lifted the human dignity and honor pedophile Douglas Perltiz so abused, destroyed and denigrated. Sad all around, but it was a good day for justice and decency today! We're motivated: One down, one thousand more in Haiti to go! Everyone, THANK YOU!
As we made our presentation before the court during the sentencing, HLLN symbolically took back the use of the Venerable Pierre Toussaint's legacy to give the Douglas Perlitz school in Haiti meaning. In open court, before Judge Arterton, we took the podium, to remind the world that Pierre Toussaint, the most venerated Black Catholic in the world was a Haitian who helped found the first orphanage in New York city for homeless boys, back when Black folks were still enslaved in the United States. Pierre Toussaint was a philanthropist who EARNED, through his own labor, the money he did his charitable works with. He was piety incarnate. He was humble, loving, patient, kind, generous, self-sacrificing. He lived the Gospel of Christ. Douglas Perliz named the school he used to abuse Haiti's homeless boys "Project Pierre Toussaint." Douglas Perlitz could have learned about charity and giving without-strings from Pierre Toussaint. We went before the judge to say this, take back the Venerable Pierre Toussaint's name, lift up his shining legacy and ask the judge to impose the maximum sentence to validate the children's dignity, assuage their soul-destroying wounds and send a deterrence message to other such predators in Haiti right now doing the same horrid deeds. During our address before the Court, in support of the Haiti abused children and on behalf of the Ezili Network and the Haiti and world community HLLN represents, we made the point that if the world is in need of what a "face of Christ" (as one supporter of Perlitz described him to be) really looks like, then Pierre Toussaint already showed us -" and we lifted up a 10 X 17 picture of the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, to illustrate. Douglas Perlitz and his ilk "doing good," using their false benevolence and Haiti's misery to rake-in the dollars in Haiti, right now, are nowhere near equal to the Catholic philanthropist and humanitarian, the Venerable Pierre Toussaint of Haiti.
- Human rights attorney, Ezili Dantò, President of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, talks to the media about Catholic philanthropist, Haitian charitable works icon, the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, whom Doug Perlitz named his school after, while outside the Richard C. Lee United States Courthouse in downtown New Haven, Conn. during a recess in the sentencing hearing for Perlitz on Tuesday December 21, 2010. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post
Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Sentencing for Haiti sex abuser
**********************Perlitz gets maximum sentence, 235 months
By Elizabeth Connors December 22, 2010, Fairfield Minuteman News Center
Perlitz, 40, a Fairfield University alumnus from the class of 1992, was the founder of Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT), a charity that provided food, clothing, shelter and schooling to homeless boys in Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second largest city, and of which many Fairfield County residents donated money and support to. Many local residents sat on the board of the project and organized fund raisers, even traveling to Haiti to see the progress Perlitz had made. After much investigation into allegations that he had been molesting the young students in exchange for money, Perlitz pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single charge of traveling to Haiti repeatedly between 2001 and 2008 and engaging in illicit sexual conduct. He has been in prison in Rhode Island since he was arrested in September 2009.
On Tuesday Perlitz, wearing a blue sweater, sat quietly in a room of about 130 people, listening to testimonies from the boys he raped, arguments between his lawyers and the prosecution, and other testimonies that conclude Perlitz sexually molested upwards of 25-30 boys, many of whom are still too ashamed to come forward.