The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Thursday, September 17, 2009
Catholic teacher arrested for child sex crimes; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered Perlitz' crimes in Haiti or the US will step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around since 1988 and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747)
Haitian Boys' School Founder, Formerly Of Fairfield County, Accused Of Sexually Abusing Boys
By EDMUND H. MAHONY The Hartford Courant - 12:04 p.m. EDT, September 17, 2009
NEW HAVEN - The founder and director of a boys' school in Haiti has been indicted on federal charges and accused of sexually abusing poor boys in his program.
Acting U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy and John T. Morton, assistant secretary of the department of homeland security, said today that Douglas Perlitz, 39, of Eagle, Col. and formerly of Fairfield County, has been indicted on seven counts of traveling outside the U.S. with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with individuals under the age of 18 and three counts of engaging in sexual conduct in foreign places with persons under the age of 18.
Perlitz was the founder and director of Project Pierre Toussaint, a boys school in Capt-Haitien, Haiti. He has received national attention for helping street children living in poverty in Haiti.
The boys are derisively called "sangine," which in Creole means "one without soul," according to a 2007 Christian Science Monitor story about Perlitz's work with the boys.
Perlitz was helping boys who struggled to find food to survive, skipped school, ran afoul of the law and got high on paint thinner to try to forget the lot in life, the Monitor story said.
Federal officials today painted a different picture of Perlitz's interaction with the Haitian boys.
"This defendant is alleged to have used his position of power to manipulate and sexually abuse vulnerable boys for nearly a decade,'' Dannehy said.
Perlitz was indicted on Tuesday; on Wednesday, he was arrested by U.S. immigration and customs enforcement agents at his home in Colorado. Following his arrest, he was arraigned in federal court in Denver and has been detained pending a hearing that is scheduled for tomorrow in Denver.
The indictment alleges that over the course of several years, Perlitz had illicit sexual conduct with nine boys who attended school at Project Pierre Toussaint.
To persuade the children to go along with sex acts with him, Perlitz promised them food and shelter and also provided them with cash, cell phones, electronics, shoes, clothes and other items.
If the minors refused to engage in sex acts with him, it was alleged that Perlitz would at times withhold benefits from them or threaten to expel from the school.
The indictment alleges that when Perlitz was questioned by others as to why he permitted minors to sleep in his room at the youth facility, Perlitz attempted to conceal the abuse of the minors by stating that it was common in Haiti for children and adults to sleep together. Other times, when questioned about the practice, he would state that the particular child was having a lot of difficulty, the indictment said.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests