Lawsuit Filed Over Haiti Sex Abuse

Victim seeking $20 million from CT man who founded school, abused children

By Jennifer Sposato
|  Tuesday, Apr 19, 2011  |  Updated 12:19 PM EDT
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Fairfield University

Doug Perlitz addressed graduates in 2002 when he earned an honorary degree for his charitable work. In 2010, he was sentenced to almost 20 years in prison for sexually abusing children at the school he founded in Haiti. One of his victims has now filed a $20 million lawsuit against him.

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A former Connecticut man now faces a $20 million lawsuit for sexually abusing children at a school he founded in Haiti.

One of Douglas Perlitz's accusers filed the lawsuit, which also names Fairfield University and the Society of Jesus as defendants.

Perlitz was sentenced in December for sexually abusing children at the Project Pierre Toussaint School, which he founded in 1997, while living in Fairfield County.

Prosecutors said Perlitz gave the children money, food, clothing and electronics and threatened to take everything away and expel them from the school if they told anyone about the abuse.

The scandal eventually led to the collapse of the school, forcing the children back into homelessness, prosecutors said.

The lawsuit maintains that Fairfield University and the Jesuit order were negligent in hiring and supervising Perlitz. It also accuses other defendants, some of them not named, of aiding Perlitz's efforts to cover up the abuse.

Alice Poltorick, a spokeswoman for the Society of Jesus, New England, called Perlitz's actions "deeply disturbing" and said the order would "work to address this claim diligently and with great sensitivity towards any individual who was harmed by Mr. Perlitz."

Officials at Fairfield University, which put its employees on the fundraising arm of the Haitian school, declined to comment, but said they hadn't yet seen the lawsuit.

A message left for an attorney for Perlitz wasn't immediately returned.

An attorney for the accuser, Mitchell Garabedian, said he represents 20 more children who will file complaints in the near future.

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