Deputy U.S. marshals are expected to fly Douglas Perlitz, 39, formerly of Fairfield, back to Connecticut late Thursday from Colorado, where he was arrested Sept. 16 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
Once the plane touches down in Connecticut, the deputies will drive Perlitz to the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, R.I., where he will stay pending his arraignment and detention hearing. The 642-bed facility was constructed for the U.S. Marshals Services to house male arrestees facing federal charges in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
It is expected that Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel will argue that Perlitz, who is accused of sexually abusing at least nine boys, represents a danger to the community and a risk of flight, and should not be released on bond. If she convinces the judge that Perlitz poses one of those risks, he will be detained until his trial.
Perlitz was indicted two weeks ago by a federal grand jury on seven charges of traveling to a foreign land for the purpose of engaging in sex with minors and three charges of engaging in sex with minors in a foreign country. Each of the charges has a maximum 30-year prison term and $250,000 fine.
Perlitz, who graduated from Fairfield University, established the Project Pierre Toussaint in 1997 with a grant from the Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic charity. Later, a private fund chaired by the Rev. Paul Carrier, former director of Fairfield University's campus ministry and community service, helped raise millions for the program from donations, collections and gifts.
The program grew from a street clinic to a school and residential program, with a two-level home called Bel-Air where Perlitz lived. The indictment alleges that $2 million was transferred from the Haiti Fund to an account in Haiti that Perlitz controlled. The program was shuttered because of a lack of funding this summer.
The indictment alleges that
Perlitz, selected as the Fairfield University commencement speaker in 2002 and presented with an honorary degree for his charitable work, used food, shelter and gifts to convince disadvantaged children to have sex with him.
The whereabouts of Carrier, who was removed as the board chairman in 2008 and subsequently left Fairfield University, is unknown. The Society of Jesus, New England Province, the Jesuit jurisdiction to which Carrier is assigned, has failed to return more than a dozen phone calls.
Fairfield University President Jeffrey von Arx announced last week it will hire a lawyer to conduct an internal review into collections for the charity during Masses at the university, and how other gifts were deposited and disbursed.
Following the 11 a.m. Mass at the university's chapel last Sunday, nearly 60 people attended a 90-minute meeting led by the Rev. Gerald Blaszczak about the Haitian charity and Perlitz's arrest.
"The supporters of the program were deeply affected by the news reports," said Blaszczak, who become the university's chaplain on July 15.
"It was the kind of session where they were talking to each other. I made a pledge not to divulge specifics."
"They shared a lot of what they were feeling with each other and were deeply grateful that there was a time and a place for this discussion," he said. "A lot of them are struggling with this and expressed concern about the well-being of the children in Haiti."
While he said there was no decision on any effort to resurrect the program, he said those in attendance expressed "a renewed commitment and desire to reach out" and help the poor, particularly children.
"This community of people does a lot of work in this area," Blaszczak said, "particularly at Prospect House," a Bridgeport program that serves as a residential treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse.
Blaszczak said no future on-campus sessions have been scheduled to discuss the Haitian charity scandal at this time.