Affidavit from the lawyer of the NGO Heart With Haiti


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Affidavit from the lawyer of the NGO Heart With Haiti

  1. 1. Memo for Colon Willoughby, Esq. From Rosario Mario F. Rizzo, Esq. Re: St Joseph Family & Haitian 1.B.E.S.R. Certification Proces,~ Date: June 26, 2014 The Saint Joseph Family of Homes for Boys SJF have been in good standing with the Haitian authorities for over 25 years. The Haitian authorities have referred many, many children to the SJF since its founding in 1985. The Institut du Bien-&reSocial et de Recherches (IBESR), Mme. Villedroiun, Director, is the Haitian agency that certifies children's residential homes in Haiti. After the earthquake, the IBESR found that it was very hard to track children in orphanages in Haiti, of which there were many. The IBESR decided to create a new much more stringent certification process for children's residential homes in Haiti, while at the same time phasing out the majority of orphanages in Haiti. Over the last few years, IBESR has not been certifying homes, but has been allowing all children's residential homes and orphanage certifications to - expire in favor of implementing a new certification process. While the new certification process is implemented, the IBESR allows homes that have expired certifications to remain open. In the first year of this new, enhanced certification process, 2012, the IBESR decided to certify only 10 children's homes in Haiti. The new certification process takes over a year, and requires staff training, program and procedure creation and review. The process also requires that the organization hire'a full time social worker, recommended by the IBESR. Each IBESR sanctioned social worker is paid by the home that employs him, works in the home(s), and reports back to the IBESR weekly for a year. Both during and at the end of this preparation year, the IBESR visits the homes and makes a final recommendation for approval and certification. In 2012, the IBESR invited all three of the SJF homes to apply for certification, i.e.: three of the first ten to be certified in Haiti. The IBESR believed that the St. Joseph Family provided better services and a better quality of life for the children in its care than most other children's homes in Haiti. The IBESR wanted the SJF homes to serve as an example of and to set the standard for a well-run children's home in Haiti. They wanted SJF to set a higher bar for performance and quality. Wings of Hope, the SJF home for special needs children, was the first of the ten homes to be certified by the IBESR under this new, tough certification process. Wings of Hope retains this certification today. The other two SJF homes, Trinity House in Jacmel and St. Joseph Home for Boys in Petionville, were in the final stages of approval for full certification, and were told that they would receive their final certifications around the beginning of 2014. However, Paul Kendrick, with the help of Cyrus Sibert, a Haitian journalist and self-appointed child advocate, intentionally interfered with the process. At the beginning of 2014, Kendrick and Sibert renewed their campaign against Michael Geilenfeld and SJF, bombarding the IBESR with hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters and internet postings malting defamatory and unfounded statementsof child abuse at the SJF homes.
  2. 2. Because of the outrageousness and false exigency of Kendriclcand Sibert's false reports to the IBESR, on February 3, 2014 the IBESR and the Haitian National Police mounted a SWAT-type raid on the SJF Home for Boys in Petionville, the facility where Michael Geilenfeld lives, complete with automatic weapons. The IBESR removed seven children under the age of 14, placing them in an IBESR affiliated orphanage. The IBESR allowed older children to remain at this particular home. Of the children removed by IBESR only one was an orphan. The other children had been placed in SJF care by their families who were too poor to care for them. On February 5,2014, Mme. Villedroiun met with an attorney for SJF. Because of the nature of Kendrick's heinous allegations and the fact that the allegations are the subject of a defamation suit in the US., IBESR has communicated that it will delay its certification of the two SJF homes until the defamation action against Kendrick is resolved at trial in October if not before. The IBESR investigation into the wellbeing of the children found no evidence of child abuse or mistreatment. On April 15, 2014, the IBESR returned six of the seven children to their families, with the caveat that they not be returned to SJF until the defamation case is over. The IBESR also decided to freeze the final approval for the other two SJF homes. The IBESR eventually told SJF's attorney that the only reason that it fioze the final approval for each of the home's certifications was because of the voluminous correspondences and contacts orchestrated by Kendriclcand Sibert. . - r SJF has never had any of its three certifications revolted. The re-certifications of the Petionville and Jacmel facilities were merely put on hold because of Kendriclc and Sibert.