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Haitian Sex Scandal Reaches 12 Million Dollar Settlement
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Douglas Perlitz and the Project Pierre Toussaint program have been involved in a scandal with 24 Haitian street boys. The boys have now reached a settlement of $12 million. The boys’ lawyers claim Perlitz sexually abused them. Douglas Perlitz helped to found the Project Pierre Toussaint, which proposed to help feed clothe and educate Haitian boys in their country. Instead of helping, the boys’ lawyers claim the program became an instrument of abuse.  The settlement closes a program initially aimed to help the Haitian poor by connecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy Fairfield and Westchester county Catholics for a dozen years. Cyrus Silbert, a Haitian journalist, blew the whistle and exposed the sex scandal involving Douglas Perlitz. Perlitz was found guilty of travelling overseas to engage in sex with a minor and sentenced to 19 years and seven months in federal prison, according to the CT Post.

Haiti is a country with a low GDP, which was rocked into devastation in recent years by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which affected almost 4 million people while killing a quarter of a million people. Historically, corruption has been a problem for Haiti since it won its independence. Much of the capital city Port-Au-Prince was left in ruins as clean water, electricity and other essential utilities were destroyed. While NGOs like the Haiti Fund existed in Haiti for decades, newer NGOs also came into the country to assist survivors of the earthquake or to adopt orphans. Many NGOs had a lot of money to help aright things. With a lack of scrutiny and transparency things can be hidden underneath the heaps of cash being used to help these displaced people.

  
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It is sad that under the guise of humanitarian relief this kind of child abuse was secretly going on. Among the parties who claim that the settlement is not an admission of liability was Fairfield University. This settlement is a betrayal to families who donated their wealth in earnest to affect a better standard of living for Haiti’s poor. Certain NGOs have been organized since 1997, teaching the poor in Haiti basic trades such as farming, animal husbandry, roofing, plumbing and other trades needed to revive one of the poorest countries in the world.

As the CT Post reports, the scandal’s legacy sends a message for the first time in Haiti that NGO’s must put policies, practices and systems in place and be vigilant to ensure the safety of the children in their care.

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