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10:00 AM ET
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11:00 AM ET

Video: Aid worker freed from Haitian jail

Aid worker accused of voodoo is now free

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Haiti
December 29th, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Video: Aid worker jailed for voodoo

An American aid worker in Haiti has been accused of practicing voodoo and turning a child into a zombie.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Haiti • Keeping Them Honest
December 21st, 2010
08:30 PM ET

American gets nearly 20 years for sexually abusing Haitian boys

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/12/21/haiti.abuse/story.haiti.perlitz.cnn.jpg caption="Douglas Perlitz was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison Tuesday in New Haven, Connecticut." width=300 height=169]

Vladimir Duthiers and Hannah Yi

(CNN) - An American school founder who young Haitian men once hailed as a savior was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 20 years in prison for sexually abusing them.

Douglas Perlitz, 40, was sentenced in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, to 19 years and 7 months behind bars for abusing the Haitian men when they were boys under his care, said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston.

"We're very pleased with the sentence," he said. "He was brought to justice and I hope it sends a strong message to people who are doing that or who are even thinking about doing that."

Judge Janet Bond Arterton imposed the sentence, which includes 10 years of supervised release.

Perlitz arrived in the northern Haitian city of Cap-Haitien in 1997. There, he opened a charitable school called the Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT). He got homeless boys off the streets and gave them shelter, food and education.

"When I met Mr. Douglas, he appeared to us like Jesus Christ himself come to rescue us," said Francilien Jean-Charles, who was only 12 when he was plucked by Perlitz and brought to the school.

Over the years, PPT grew into a 10-acre compound with dorms, classrooms and a soccer field.

Perlitz frequently flew back to Fairfield, Connecticut, to raise money. According to court documents, from 2002 to 2008, donors gave more than $2 million to help care for the kids. Perlitz's alma mater, Fairfield University, awarded him an honorary degree in 2002 for helping homeless boys in Haiti.

But Perlitz was hardly the man he appeared to be.

Full story

Filed under: Haiti • Hannah Yi • Vladimir Duthiers
December 18th, 2010
11:30 AM ET
December 17th, 2010
05:45 PM ET

U.S. monitoring kidnapping case against citizen in Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/12/17/haiti.american.jailed/story.waggoner2.mmrc.jpg caption="'A Haitian judge has decided that there's sufficient evidence to hold Paul Waggoner, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said." width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The U.S. is keeping close watch on the case of an American relief worker jailed in Haiti under suspicion of kidnapping a 15-month-old boy, the State Department said Friday, but it remains unclear whether the U.S. is working for Paul Waggoner's release.

"We have monitored his court appearances and continue to track the case closely," said P.J. Crowley, spokesman for the State Department.

A Haitian judge concluded after a hearing Wednesday that sufficient evidence exists to hold Waggoner while investigators evaluate a man's complaint that the American kidnapped his critically ill son from a hospital, according to Jon Piechowski, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

Waggoner is the co-founder of Materials Management Relief Corps, a humanitarian organization that seeks to provide logistical support to medical workers in Haiti, where a major earthquake caused extensive damage in January.

Waggoner was working at the Haitian Community Hospital in Petionville in February when a Haitian man sought treatment for his 15-month-old son.

Accounts differ as to what happened next, but the father believes the child survived and that Waggoner kidnapped him, Piechowski said.

Waggoner's supporters, including two physicians, have said the child died, and his body was cremated because the father would not claim the remains.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Haiti
December 16th, 2010
11:45 AM ET
December 13th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

In Haiti, Palin urges U.S. to do more to help

Justine Redman
AC360° Producer

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was in Haiti on Sunday, urging the U.S government and other Americans to do more to help the earthquake-ravaged country.

"Not to get political, but if some of the politicians would come here and see the conditions perhaps they would see the need for, say, a military airlift to bring the supplies that are so needed here," she said.

Palin spoke at a brief press conference at a warehouse owned by the Samaritan's Purse organization north of Port-au-Prince.

"(I) don't want Americans to forget the need that is here," she said. "More importantly, for Americans and people across the world to know what an individual can do to make a difference, to contribute, to kind of get out of your comfort zone and volunteer to help."

Palin praised Samaritan's Purse for "doing God's work." Samaritan's Purse describes itself on its website as "a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world."

Palin said she would not take questions from reporters. "The reason I won't be answering questions is because we don't need to be getting political here today," Palin said.

The former Republican vice-presidential nominee thanked her husband and daughter Bristol for joining her on the trip and said she hopes Bristol could help raise awareness of Haiti's needs among young people.

As she was whisked off the makeshift stage to her waiting car, Palin answered one question from CNN's Gary Tuchman, who asked what was different from what she expected to find in Haiti.

"Much harsher than I had expected, the conditions are much rougher," Palin replied.

Palin is widely thought to be considering a run for president in 2012.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Haiti • Haiti Earthquake • Sarah Palin
December 11th, 2010
09:45 AM ET
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