American freed of child abuse charges in Haiti

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Michael Geilenfeld

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday May 1, 2015 – An American accused of abusing five former residents in an orphanage he operated has been set free.

The case against Michael Geilenfeld has been dismissed and the 63-year-old founder of St. Joseph’s Home for Boys released after a brief trial.

However, a lawyer for the victims, Manuel Jeanty, said he planned to appeal the decision.

None of the victims, who are now all adults, testified in the trial. Jeanty said neither he nor any of his clients attended the proceeding because they were not notified in advance that it would be taking place.

“The justice system is not working,” he lamented.

The five former residents had accused Geilenfeld of physical and sexual abuse at the Port-au-Prince orphanage which opened in 1985, but he was adamant that he was innocent.

FLASHBACK: Michael Geilenfeld waiting in handcuffs as the manager of his orphanage sits with him in the back of a police truck outside the St. Joseph’s Home For Boys after police closed it down. (Photo: AP)

FLASHBACK: Michael Geilenfeld waiting in handcuffs as the manager of his orphanage sits with him in the back of a police truck outside the St. Joseph’s Home For Boys after police closed it down. (Photo: AP)

His defence attorney, Alain Lemithe, said the accusations against his client were vague and unsubstantiated.

“They had no proof whatsoever so he has been released,” he told the Associated Press yesterday.

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