Last year in late Oct., The Mirror began receiving e-mails from a man named Paul Kendrick alleging that a former Fairfield graduate Doug Perlitz had been abusing young boys at his charity in Haiti. Kendrick had donated money to the charity school, Project Pierre Toussaint, along with making a visit to Haiti and Perlitz. His e-mails also alluded to a cover-up by Fairfield and the Jesuits.
After numerous e-mails on the subject, I contacted Vice President of Administrative and Student Affairs Mark Reed. Reed requested that everything discussed be off the record, and after attempts to contact the FBI and Project Pierre Toussaint board members failed, The Mirror could not report the story with only the say so of Kendrick.
But now Perlitz has been indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of traveling outside the U.S. for the purpose of engaging in sex with minors and three counts of engaging in sexual conduct in foreign places with minors.
“We had no prior knowledge of it,” said Rama Sudhakar, vice president of marketing in an article in the Connecticut Post. “There is no real comment to be made. All we can do is give you some facts.”
When asked by The Mirror to clarify her remarks, Sudhakar said, “Prior to the arrest of Mr. Perlitz, the University was not aware of a criminal investigation. Fairfield officials learned about a year ago that the Project’s Board of Directors had removed Mr. Perlitz as the Project’s Director following their investigation.”
But eight of the 16 members of the board of directors had direct Fairfield ties, including faculty, staff, alumni and a Jesuit. The University does not have formal ties to the Haiti Fund, which conveniently allows it to distance itself from the scandal. The University has previously raised money at mass for the charity and awarded Perlitz with an honorary degree.
An internal split occurred shortly after Perlitz was removed as the project’s director following an internal investigation, which the University was aware of, with some board members supporting him, while others decided it was best to move on.
Fr. Paul Carrier, was the chairman of the board for the Haiti Fund, which raised money for Perlitz’s work. No one has been able to reach Carrier for comment on the story, for which The Connecticut Post and Kendrick have insinuated that the Jesuits are attempting to hide Carrier.
Carrier is the former director of Campus Ministry. In 2006, Thomas Regan, S.J., Provincial of New England and former Fairfield professor, removed him from his post in order to take a sabbatical. He has not been charged with any crime, but he was heavily involved with the Haiti Fund.
In a Nov. 2008 e-mail to Kendrick from Regan, Regan said, “While I appreciate your concerns, I have not responded to your recent e-mails concerning Fr. Paul Carrier because I am not, as Provincial, free to give out personal information about an individual Jesuit. I respond now because I believe you may have a misunderstanding about the position of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus in regards to Project Pierre Toussaint.”
Regan continued: “Fr. Paul Carrier, S.J. has not been a member of the Board of the Haiti Fund since last spring. There have been no accusations that Fr. Carrier has in any way engaged in misconduct with boys. While Fr. Carrier, and some former Haiti Fund Board members, have criticized the Board for its decision to remove Mr. Perlitz, he does not speak for the Province in this matter.”
Kendrick, the man who originally tipped off The Mirror to the allegations, is not without blemish either. The Portland (ME) Police issued him a criminal trespass warning and a cease-harassment notice in Dec. 2008 against Bishop Richard Malone. Sue Bernard, a spokesperson for the diocese, said in an article in the Portland Press Herald, Kendrick earned the rebuke due to his frequent public statements against the bishop and his constant correspondence to his office. Kendrick was trying to pressure Malone to meet with the mother of a boy who settled a lawsuit against the diocese when she alleged her son was molested by a priest.
Kendrick could not be reached for comment since he is on vacation when the story broke, but he did say that he was planning a protest outside the school in early Oct.
This story has only begun to come out. No one is going to know how deep this sordid tale runs until the trial begins. Deb Picarazzi, operation assistant for Campus Ministry and board member for the Haiti Fund, has already declined to comment because she is under subpoena. So far, most of what The Mirror has discovered as been off the record. Faculty members and people close to the investigation are reluctant to comment. The real meat of this story will come out during the trial and people have to comment, on the record.