Sex Crimes

Founder of orphanage in Haiti tells Maine jury in defamation suit that he never abused kids

  • Michael Geilenfeld arrives at U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Geilenfeld, an orphanage founder, and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti have brought a civil lawsuit against activist Paul Kendrick who they say made reckless allegations and "vicious attacks" that hurt Geilenfeld's fundraising efforts and damaged his reputation. This month, the Haitian National Police arrested Geilenfeld on charges of indecent assault and conspiracy, dramatically cuffing him at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince and hauling him away in the bed of a pickup truck. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    Michael Geilenfeld arrives at U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Geilenfeld, an orphanage founder, and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti have brought a civil lawsuit against activist Paul Kendrick who they say made reckless allegations and "vicious attacks" that hurt Geilenfeld's fundraising efforts and damaged his reputation. This month, the Haitian National Police arrested Geilenfeld on charges of indecent assault and conspiracy, dramatically cuffing him at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince and hauling him away in the bed of a pickup truck. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)  (The Associated Press)

  • Activist Paul Kendrick of Freeport, Maine, poses outside U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Kendrick is being sued for defamation by Michael Geilenfeld, an orphanage founder, and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti. They say Kendrick made reckless allegations and "vicious attacks" that hurt Geilenfeld's fundraising efforts and damaged his reputation. This month, the Haitian National Police arrested Geilenfeld on charges of indecent assault and conspiracy, dramatically cuffing him at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince and hauling him away in the bed of a pickup truck. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    Activist Paul Kendrick of Freeport, Maine, poses outside U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Kendrick is being sued for defamation by Michael Geilenfeld, an orphanage founder, and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti. They say Kendrick made reckless allegations and "vicious attacks" that hurt Geilenfeld's fundraising efforts and damaged his reputation. This month, the Haitian National Police arrested Geilenfeld on charges of indecent assault and conspiracy, dramatically cuffing him at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince and hauling him away in the bed of a pickup truck. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)  (The Associated Press)

The founder of an orphanage in Haiti who's accused by a Maine activist of molesting boys says he "never sexually abused children anywhere."

Michael Geilenfeld testified Monday in his defamation lawsuit against Paul Kendrick, who leveled the accusations in 2011 and hasn't backed down.

The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1fFglqc) reports that Geilenfeld told jurors that Kendrick sent email "blitzes" starting Jan. 31, 2011, to more than 500 recipients.

Geilenfeld testified that he's gay and that his sexual orientation led to past accusations of child abuse in an island nation that he described as "very homophobic." He says those allegations were quickly dispelled.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock says jurors will likely be asked to focus on two issues: whether Kendrick's allegations were false and whether the accusations were made negligently.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com