Archive for March, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013 search

Children at Wings of Hope, an organization BC Faculty member David Manzo has volunteered for the past four years. (Photo from

BC Faculty Member Seeks Aid for Haiti

Pulse Instructor David Manzo is getting the word out about Hearts with Haiti, an organization he has volunteered with for the past four years

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff
Published: January 14, 2010

A long-time Boston College faculty member who serves as the president of the Cotting School in Lexington is seeking donations for abandoned and handicapped children in Haiti, who have been devastated by the earthquake.

Pulse Instructor David Manzo, ’77, was receiving grim emails from his friends and colleagues in Port-au-Prince today, relaying the desperate situation caused by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks.

Manzo read aloud the bleak and rushed text of an email, which explained the school and orphanage he had volunteered at for the past four years was gone. All the children – most severely handicapped and confined to wheelchairs – escaped, but two staffers were severely injured and could not be helped at overrun hospitals. A desperate effort was underway to bring the injured home to the US for medial treatment.

Manzo had most recently been in Haiti during Thanksgiving and was scheduled to return Jan. 29. He had run exchange programs for teachers at the Cotting School in Lexington and the Haitian sister school, Wings of Hope.

“You have to understand that we are very close – these are people I know and love,” said Manzo. “What I am hearing is that all remains is rubble. It’s all gone.”

Even before the earthquake, instructors and volunteers from Hearts with Haiti – a nonprofit that supports the St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince, Wings of Hope in Fermathe and Trinity House in Jacmel – operated with just two hours of electricity a day and no running water.

Boston College students and staff members have traveled with Manzo to Haiti regularly, and were emailing and messaging through Facebook to receive updates as to the status of the schools, Manzo said. Members of the BC Philosophy and Theology Departments have already started collections and alumni were anxious to find out what they could do to help.

“What they need most now most is donations. They need money so the people there can get the resources they need to do the work that needs to be done,” said Manzo. “It’s just terribly tragic that this has happened. We, here, are doing all we can to help.”

For more information on Hearts with Haiti or to make a donation to help the relief effort at the schools, visit

Boston Globe Cotting School David Manzo 2010-01-14


March 27, 2013

David Manzo
Cotting School
Lexington, MA

Dear President Manzo,

Actions speak louder than words.

I cannot believe you ordered the removal of anything and everything to do with Cotting School’s partnership with Wings of Hope from the Cotting School website.

Of course, in doing so, you also removed any mention of your long time friend, Soni.

As you know, President Manzo, Soni has fled Haiti in fear of Michael Geilenfeld and other staff members at the St. Joseph’s Family of Homes in Haiti.

Soni is in the Boston area. He is asking for protection by the United States government.

I learned this week that you are a member of St. Cecilia’s parish in Boston. In fact, according to you, it is through your pastor, Father John Unni, that you became interested in Haiti.

In an essay you wrote two years ago, you proclaimed it was the perseverance of Soni who inspired you and Cotting School to partner with Wings of Hope. You describe Soni as having “severe cerebral palsy.”

You may know that another child protection advocate, Paul Kellen, and I stood peacefully in front of St. Cecilia’s on Sunday. We distributed leaflets to Palm Sunday mass attendees asking for financial support for Soni.

After all, it’s not so long ago that you, Father Unni, and hundreds of St. Cecilia’s parishioners cheered Soni on as he performed with the St. Joseph’s dance troupe on the stage at St. Cecilia’s.

And, please don’t forget, President Manzo, Soni has performed many times on the stage at Cotting School.

Sadly, horribly, despicably, it’s come to this. Father Unni is angry that we dared to “demonstrate” on behalf of Soni at “his” church on Sunday. And now, it has come to pass that you removed all evidence that Soni exists from the Cotting School web site within days of my distributing copies of your January 2011 essay about Soni and Wings of Hope.

(Note:  the following is a broken link.  The Cotting School took this document down of their site in late March 2013.)

During the past few months I have pleaded with you and Father Unni to assist those of us who are trying to support Soni to help put together a plan to facilitate Son’s short term and longer term needs.

I’d like to think that is still possible, but your’s and Father Unni’s behavior towards Soni leaves me with little hope.

Soni has no practical support. He’s trying to survive in a strange country. He has special needs, he has no money, no permanent shelter and depends upon others for a daily ration of food.

Are you and Father Unni going to just walk away and leave your old friend, Soni, to die on the streets of Boston?

Paul Kendrick
Freeport, ME


For immediate release:
Friday, March 22, 2013

For more information: Paul Kendrick, 207-838-1319, Paul Kellen, 781-526-5878.

WHO: A small group of child protection advocates will hand out leaflets to parishioners outside St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston.

WHERE: St. Cecilia’s Church, 18 Belvidere Street, Boston, MA

WHEN: Sunday, March 24, 2013; 9:00 am to 11:30 am.

WHY: For many years, Father John Unni and St. Cecilia’s parish members provided generous support to the St. Joseph’s Family of Homes in Port au Prince, Haiti. During the past two years, allegations of physical and child sexual abuse have resurfaced against Director Michael Geilenfeld. Some of the alleged victims are in the Boston area and they need help now (see letter below).


March 22, 2013

Rev. John Unni
St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church
18 Belvidere Street
Boston, MA

Dear Rev. Unni,

I am compelled to stand peacefully, with a sign, outside the Palm Sunday mass at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Boston.

I will distribute leaflets to mass attendees, asking them to stand in solidarity with a young, abused and physically challenged young Haitian man who, three months ago, fled Haiti because he fears being further abused at the St. Joseph’s Family of Homes in Haiti.

This Haitian man is seeking asylum in the United States. He came to Boston to find safety in the company of friends.






Why am I asking you for help, Rev. Unni?

For many years the St. Cecilia’s faith community provided generous amounts of time and money to the St. Joseph’s Family of Homes in Haiti.

In fact, many of you have known this Haitian man since he was a child. He was a featured and popular dancer while a member of the St. Joseph’s Resurrection Dance Theater. He performed more than once at St. Cecilia’s parish in Boston.

When, in your presence, this man and other members of the Haiti dance troupe played the drums loudly and danced on your altar, you all rose to your feet in deafening applause.

Two years ago, when allegations of child sexual abuse resurfaced against Michael Geilenfeld, Director of the St. Joseph’s Homes, you resigned your position as a board member of the orphanage and withheld parish donations to the St. Joseph’s Homes.

Since that time, I have been begging you to redirect some of your caring, passion and treasure towards providing funding for professional counseling for victims who allege they were sexually abused by Geilenfeld, and are now living in the Boston area.

I must admit, Rev. Unni, I am frustrated by your lack of urgency in this matter. I have already told you that a Haiti social justice group in Boston is assisting this man through the long legal immigration process.

But more help is needed, at least in the short term.

The man is physically challenged. He will eventually need to find a group home that can meet his needs.

He needs our love, care and support. He is afraid to return to Haiti.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, Rev. Unni.

However, I do know that efforts to help this man need to be coordinated. I offer my own time to this task.

Perhaps, after the mass on Palm Sunday, a few members of your Haiti Committee will agree to meet with me.

The Poor are the Church.

Paul Kendrick
Freeport, ME


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                CRM

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2013                                                                      (202) 514-2007

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV                                                                                    TTY (866) 544-5309

WASHINGTON – A former Michigan resident was found guilty by a federal jury today in Miami of child sex tourism charges, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer and Special Agent in Charge Alysa D. Erichs of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami office.

Matthew Andrew Carter, aka “William Charles Harcourt” and “Bill Carter,” 67, formerly of Brighton, Mich., was found guilty in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida of five counts of traveling in foreign commerce from the United States to Haiti for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children and one count of attempting to do so.  Carter was charged in a second superseding indictment returned on Jan. 12, 2012.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from 1995 to 2011, Carter resided at and operated the Morning Star Center near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, prior to his arrest on May 8, 2011.  The Morning Star Center was a residential facility that provided shelter, food, clothing and school tuition to Haitian children.  The children who lived at the Morning Star Center were from impoverished families that could not feed them, send them to school or otherwise support their children.  The evidence at trial showed that Carter specifically targeted children in need and preyed on their vulnerability.  Between 1995 and 2011, Carter frequently traveled between the United States and Haiti in order to raise funds from churches and donors for the continued operation of the center.  Carter sexually and physically abused the children in his care and custody at the center during this period of time.  According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Carter used force to get these children to comply with his sexual demands and required the children to participate in sexual acts in order to receive food, remain at the center and/or continue to receive school tuition payments.

At trial, 16 Haitian victims who resided at the Morning Star Center between 1995 and 2011 testified.  Additionally, four witnesses testified that they were sexually abused by Carter in London during the 1970s.  Carter previously was charged with and acquitted of charges related to the sexual abuse of children in London, Cairo, Egypt and Winter Haven, Fla.

At sentencing, Carter faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison on one count and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each of the other five counts.  Carter is scheduled for sentencing on May 20, 2013, in Miami before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria K. Medetis of the Southern District of Florida and Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Trial Attorney Bonnie L. Kane of the Criminal Division.  The case against Carter was investigated by ICE-HSI in Miami, the ICE-HSI Assistant Attaché’s Office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and the ICE-HSI Santo Domingo Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit.  Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Secret Service Miami field office; the Haitian National Police Brigade for the Protection of Minors; Haitian Social Services; the Ministry of the Interior for Haiti; the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Regional Security Office for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; the London Metropolitan Police Service; the FBI’s Washington, Boston and Miami field offices; and the ICE-HSI Attaché’s Offices in London and Cairo.