Hearts with Haiti sues for defamation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Peter DeTroy
Tel: 207.774.7000

 

RALEIGH NONPROFIT SUES FOR DEFAMATION

 

Important update: The start date of the trial, referenced below to begin on October 7, has been continued (postponed) at least 90 days due to Michael Geilenfeld’s inability to be present for trial.

RALEIGH, North Carolina – September 23, 2014 – After years of slanderous and unfounded accusations, in February 2013 Hearts with Haiti and Michael Geilenfeld of the St. Joseph Family in Haiti filed suit against Paul Kendrick in the United States District Court of the District of Maine for defamation, false light, and tortious interference.

Beginning in January 2011, Mr. Kendrick, from his desk in Freeport, Maine, created and disseminated false allegations of child abuse against Michael Geilenfeld, the St. Joseph Family of Haiti, and Hearts with Haiti.  Without ever meeting Michael or any residents or staff of the homes, and having never visited any of the three children’s homes for disabled and disadvantaged children in Haiti, Mr. Kendrick attacked Michael and the St. Joseph Family of Haiti.  Intending to dismantle the St. Joseph Family’s fundraising network in the United States and Canada, Mr. Kendrick personally targeted the St. Joseph Family’s largest donors, fundraisers, and benefactors — including Hearts with Haiti.

As part of Mr. Kendrick’s ongoing campaign, he disseminated false allegations of child abuse to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. agency with authority to investigate and prosecute crimes against children by a U.S. citizen anywhere in the world.

The Department of Homeland Security launched an exhaustive investigation into Mr. Kendrick’s claims and found them to be baseless—a fact that was communicated to Mr. Kendrick directly by a senior Homeland Security official in October 2012.  However, unable to accept that he had wrongfully accused Michael and numerous others of crimes against children, Mr. Kendrick continued his internet smear campaign without regard for the falsity of his heinous allegations.

On August 28, 2014, these facts were laid out in detail in a 54-page order by the U.S. District Court (2:13-cv-00039-JAW) in which the court found that and jury could reasonably conclude that Mr. Kendrick knew his allegations were false or personally entertained serious doubts as to their veracity.  This ruling exposed Mr. Kendrick to significant personal liability at trial which is set to begin October 7, 2014.

September 5, 2014, within days of the order and just four weeks before trial, Michael was unexpectedly arrested and detained by police in Haiti.  Based on the information presently known, the arrest was made without warrant and without formal charges.  Michael’s arrest and detention is being challenged within the Haitian court system and Hearts with Haiti is confident that Michael will again be exonerated of any false allegations being made against him or the St. Joseph Family of Haiti.  The timing and circumstances of the arrest are highly suspicious and Hearts with Haiti, as a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Mr. Kendrick, intends to fully discover Mr. Kendrick’s involvement in the same.

As stated throughout the litigation against Mr. Kendrick, Hearts with Haiti strongly believes in and will continue to support the mission of the St. Joseph Family of Haiti and the incredible care it provides to the most disadvantaged and disabled children in Haiti.

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Hearts with Haiti is a 501(c)(3) invested in fostering a brighter, more sustainable future for the young people of Haiti.