Michael Karl Geilenfeld detained at St. Joseph's Home for Boys in the Delmas

The situation at the St. Joseph's Home for Boys is not a feel-good orphan story. In fact, it is one of the worst types of orphan stories one may hear as the group's founder, Michael Karl Geilenfeld, was arrested on Friday, September 5, on allegations of abuse.


Geilenfeld, an American, was taken into custody to face interrogation on suspicion of charges of criminal conspiracy and indecent assault. The spectacle created as he was detained at the orphanage in Delmas was not made worse by any resistance from the 62-yearl-old man. In fact, he might have been expecting it as the allegations of abuse were levelled against him months ago, leading to the removal of the children from the orphanage early in the year.

Geilenfeld opened the orphanage in the Petionville region nearly 30 years ago. Since then, he has also opened three other boys' homes, among which is a home for disabled boys. The mar was placed on three decades of good will when, in 2011, Catholic child abuse advocate from the Maine chapter of the group Voice of the Faithful, Paul Kendrick, made public allegations of sexual abuse in the homes. The accusations were so vociferous that Geilenfeld and his fund-raising partner, Hearts with Haiti, filed a defamation suit against Kendrick in a Maine court. While that suit is set for trial later this year, it remains unclear what light recent events will shed on it.

Of the issue, Geilenfeld's lawyer, Charles Kerson, said that the allegations were illegal, arbitrary, and couldn't be proven.

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