The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Victims hope Fairfield predator is NOT freed today
Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314 862 7688 home
No dollar figure can guarantee that this accused serial pedophile won't hurt more kids if he's released from jail. All the money pledged and promises made by friends of this alleged predator can't change a deeply rooted, nearly overwhelming compulsion to molest kids.
These latest revelations are very troubling - that up until the day he was arrested, Perlitz was apparently engaged in sexual misconduct on the internet and seeking to find "boys" on "forum pages which included places where people could post personals, arrange for meetings and identify cruising places." This strongly suggests Perlitz is sexually out of control and dangerous.
We hope his brave victims - whether in Haiti or here in the US - will remain strong, knowing they're helping to protect others. For the safety of children, we hope the judge will keep Perlitz behind bars. And we hope that adults who saw or suspected crimes or misdeeds by Perlitz will do their moral and civic duty and call police.
(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), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314 503 0003)
Ex-Fairfielder accused of abusing Haitian boys may be freed today
By Michael P. Mayko STAFF WRITER Updated: 10/28/2009 09:10:10 AM EDT
NEW HAVEN -- Early this afternoon, former Fairfielder Douglas Perlitz will learn if he will remain in jail until his trial on charges that he sexually abused Haitian street boys that he set out to help, or be released on approximately $5 million bond to stay in the home of a disabled Fairfield lawyer and his wife while awaiting trial.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel maintained in court papers filed late yesterday that some "very preliminary findings" by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forensic investigation of the computer obtained from Perlitz when he was arrested Sept. 16 in Colorado shows that the user "Doug was conducting Google searches" for "gay boys black" "Colorado Haitians" and "africa boyz" and Yahoo searches for "gay black boys."
"Moreover, the initial findings indicate that Perlitz's activities on the computer included access to forum pages which included places where people could post personals, arrange for meetings and identify cruising places," the prosecutor charged.
Perlitz faces the molestation charges in connection with the Haitian charity, Project Pierre Toussaint, that he founded as way to help street orphans in the impoverished nation.
In Haiti, Cyrus Sibert, a journalist who met with Perlitz's alleged victims last week, told the Connecticut Post the victims fear they may be pressured or even hurt by Perlitz supporters in their homeland.
Here, David Grudberg, who with William F. Dow III represents Perlitz, who founded a street clinic in Cap-Haitien that evolved into Project Pierre Toussaint, said 19 people, many from Fairfield County each have agreed to post $100,000 to $325,000 to help the defendant reach the required $5 million bond. Previously, Perlitiz's mother, brother and uncle agreed to post $2.3 million in property they own.
But Grudberg asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in court documents filed yesterday not to release the names of the individuals pledging to help pay Perlitz's bond, who he said are "people of fine standing in the community, as well as of sufficient financial means" to the public.
"Each of these individuals was promised that financial information would be shared with the court only if it was certain that information would remain sealed from public view," Grudberg wrote the judge.
Additionally, Grudberg proposed that several Fairfield residents agreed to serve as back-up third party custodians to Anthony and Laura Sirianni, who have agreed to allow Perlitz to live with them in their Fairfield home on Congress Street home until his trial. Anthony Sirianni, a retired lawyer, is confined to a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis. These individuals would supposedly monitor Perlitz when the Siriannis could not.
Patel urged Margolis to require the $5 million bond be secured by cash or property and to reject the request of 12 rotating custodians.
Others like Marguerite Laurent, president of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network which has an office in Stamford, and Paul Kendrick, co-founder of the Maine chapter of Voice of the Faithful, which advocates for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, mounted a letter-writing campaign urging Margolis to keep Perlitz in custody. Both are expected to attend this morning's hearing.
Perlitz, 39, formerly of Fairfield, has spent this month jailed in the Wyatt Detention Center, Central Falls, R.I. He is under indictment on federal charges that he traveled overseas to engage in sexual conduct with young boys in Haiti. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Sibert, who has corresponded with the Connecticut Post via e-mail, contends there are many more than the nine abuse victims Patel names in the indictment.
"My reports indicated there are more than 20 victims," wrote Sibert, who said he has worked as a print and radio journalist since 2002 and is a member of five professional groups, including the Society of Professional Journalists. He began reporting the allegations against Perlitz in 2007 in Haiti.
He said U.S. investigators spoke to 12 victims and based their case on allegations from nine.
He said the victims fear being killed "by people they don't know, people in the society and authorities who used to profit from Doug Perlitz."
Dow said Perlitz denies all these allegations and branded Sibert as a "shock jock ... whose familiarity with veracity is infrequent and insubstantial."
The defense lawyer maintained that for 13 years Haitian boys living on the street benefited from Perlitz's work "only to have it abandoned by people who sought to overtake the program for their own end."
Dow said the paperwork his office has filed in connection with Perlitz's bond shows there is "substantial and widespread" belief in his client's innocence.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests