Noted Haiti supporter pleads guilty to sex abuse

by Joshua J. McElwee

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And here's another story to add to the sex abuse list.

The News-Times, a daily newspaper in Danbury, Conn., is reporting today that Douglas Perlitz -- a young man known for his creation of a program in Haiti to help homeless boys -- will plead guilty today of sexually abusing a boy.

From the report:

The government said the plea agreement reached with Perlitz would present evidence that he had sex with eight minors, all boys, and that there were an additional five cases of abuse prosecutors were prepared to document.

The government intends to recommend a sentence of 188 to 235 months inprisonment for Perlitz, while defense attorneys were seeking a sentence of between 97 and 122 months.

Perlitz, 40, formerly of Bridgeport and Fairfield, received funding from the Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic charity and collected donations from wealthy Fairfield and Westchester County Catholics to create Project Pierre Toussaint, a three-stage program in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, the country's second-largest city, to prepare abandoned boys for adult life.

He was arrested last September in Colorado on numerous charges of traveling from the U.S. to Cap-Haitien for the purpose of sexually abusing 18 minor boys. The case had attracted international attention, with Haitian Americans attending some of the pre-trial court proceedings.

Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released a press release with a response to Perlitz's guilty plea.

From that response:

This admission should cause every person who knows Perlitz to ask friends and family if he sexually violated them too. We seriously doubt that he only molested kids in Haiti, and we strongly suspect there are adults in the US who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes and who could help law enforcement bring more charges against Perlitz and hopefully keep him away from kids even longer. We hope others with information about his crimes will step forward, call police, protect others, get help, and start healing.

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