PORTLAND, Maine — Attorneys are scheduled to give opening arguments Tuesday in the civil trial of Paul Kendrick, a Freeport man who was sued for defamation in 2013 by a former Catholic brother from Haiti and his nonprofit organization.
Michael Geilenfeld, 63, of Port au Prince, Haiti, and Hearts with Haiti, a North Carolina-based nonprofit group that raised money for orphanages run by Geilenfeld, filed suit against Kendrick, 65, an outspoken advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse who claimed Geilenfeld, an Iowa native, sexually abused children.
Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti claim false allegations by Kendrick about Geilenfeld defamed the organization and caused fundraising events in the U.S. to be canceled.
The civil complaint, filed in February 2013, was amended after Geilenfeld’s release from a Haitian jail. It now includes a request for additional damages because of Geilenfeld’s “horrific experiences in prison.”
In a pre-trial brief filed last month, Geilenfeld’s attorney, Peter DeTroy of Portland, claimed his client’s damages “far exceed[ed] $10 million.” The charity has claimed losses of more than $2 million in donations, according to court documents.