When the scandal involving Fairfield alum Doug Perlitz first broke two weeks ago, it came as a bit of a shock to the University community. However, it is an issue that has been evolving for some time and was first broken in Haiti by Haitian reporter Cyrus Sibert, who writes for the newspaper, Reseau Citadelle. Sibert said that he first heard rumors of the story, about Perlitz sexually abusing members of the Haitian school he created, in 2007 and then broke the story in August 2007 after he spoke to some members involved with the school. After doing some extensive research, Sibert claimed that Perlitz was guilty, which caused an investigation into the matter to be launched. According to an article by Stanley Lucas, who Sibert noted as a Haitian activist who wrote a response to the situation in order to pressure Haitian authorities, Sibert “brought the necessary public attention to this important issue. Following his article, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince launched an immediate investigation into Mr. Perlitz and the issue more broadly.”
Sibert recently held a short interview with The Mirror, in which he spoke about his perspective to the story and how it was first handled in Haiti.
How did you first learn about this story?
August 2007. But as member of Cap-Haitian city, I heard about that and considered it as rumors. By August 2007, someone from the state told about that. The person, who uses to give gifts to the children when coming in Haiti, told he found street kids who explain the same story and hope to testimony. The kids told him that they cannot accept the situation it’s very hard for them. When Doug drink alcohol, he spent much of time doing sex with them even though it’s painful.
Do you know anyone from Fairfield University who has been involved in the case directly? The University has been denying any ties to the organization and to Doug Perlitz.
I don’t know everything about Fairfield University. I just read the name at CNN report on the situation. I just know that a group of American people prefer support Douglas against the kids. They prefer cancel the funds to pressure kid a push to say that they were lying. A psychologist closed to Doug came recently in Haiti to pressure former staff member bay say that she can read in the eyes. The kids told me about Father Paul, I don’t know if he’s involved in the case. Fairfield seems is afraid to face the issue.
Has the University been involved in any way since the scandal first broke?
I don’t know.
What is the state of Doug’s school now? Is it still operational?
Closed. They don’t money to run it. Doug friend prefer support him anyway even investigation confirm allegations. Now street kids are surfer. Douglas sponsor punish them for saying what’s wrong. I don’t understand that. I usually heard American people are moral and respect children. I start asking if Doug initiative was single or organized.
The federal indictment says he controlled the finances and that’s how he was able to keep everything under wraps. Any comments on the validity of that claim?
I think it’s right. Douglas keep his administration out of control. His lawyer in Haiti, use to tell me to make everything well. He always replied, He doesn’t need Haitian administration. He has my money from sponsor, the sponsors believe in me,that’s all. A little investigation on his administration will show that he was managing the project as his house.
Disclaimer: Please disregard the grammatical errors in Sibert’s answers (English is his second language) and the graphic nature of the copy.
Editor’s Note: Cyrus Sibert is a Haitian reporter who was one of the first to uncover the allegations against Doug Perlitz. Children at Perlitz’s school came to Sibert and after extensive investigation, Sibert uncovered what he believes to be a series of abuses against the children. A communication error in a prior version of this interview stated that Sibert had never talked to the children, but in fact he researched the case extensively and talked to the children.