The founder of an orphanage in Haiti who is accused by a Maine activist of molesting boys told jurors that he “never sexually abused children anywhere.”
Michael Geilenfeld, a U.S. citizen, testified Monday in his defamation lawsuit against Paul Kendrick in federal court in Portland that the activist who leveled the accusations and refused to back down began sending email “blitzes” starting Jan. 31, 2011.
“I never sexually abused children anywhere,” Geilenfeld testified. “I did not know what he was relying on... This is the first time I had heard from him.”
Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti, a Raleigh-based charity that raises money for the orphanage, contend the accusations cost the orphanage more than $2 million in donations.
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The Portland Press Herald reported that Geilenfeld told jurors that he’s gay and that his sexual orientation has led to past accusations of child abuse in an island nation that he described as “very homophobic.” But he said the allegations of abuse that were made in 1987, 1990 and 1995 were quickly dispelled.
“These allegations to me were just vicious, vile lies,” Geilenfeld said.
Geilenfeld and his lawyers also hold Kendrick responsible for Geilenfeld’s arrest last fall in Haiti. He was released after 237 days when a judge dismissed charges. Attorneys for the accusers have petitioned to have the case re-examined.
Kendrick has insisted that the allegations are true.
Kendrick’s legal team says jurors will hear from seven accusers.