Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services: "I may choose to be arrested for stepping foot on the Catholic University campus if you insist on banning me from the Haiti Conference."


For immediate release:
Monday, May 14, 2012


May 12, 2012

Washington, DC

Dear Ms. Woo,

I deeply regret your decision to ban me from attending the Catholic Relief Services sponsored Haiti Conference on June 1-3 in Washington, DC.

Please see below for the clipped and insulting email I received from a member of your staff.

Ms. Simpkins didn't even have the courtesy to address me by name.

I am still hoping, however, that you will reconsider your decision.

As a point of interest, Ms. Woo, my "disruptive and harassing actions," (as described by Ms. Simpkins) have been properly directed at Catholic bishops and church hierarchs. 

It is a sad and disturbing fact that millions of Catholics have provided additional hurt and insult to victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse by their failure to demand redress for the crimes committed against children and the cover up of these crimes by Catholic church officials, including my own diocese's bishop, Richard Malone.

My colleagues and I had hoped that you and other conference officials would welcome and embrace our combined years of experience and knowledge in helping to protect children from child sexual abuse in Haiti.
Instead, the two conference co-chairs, Bishop Richard Malone and Bishop Guy Sansaricq, have ignored our March 1st letter in which we offered our support.

With all due respect, Ms Woo, if I am not to be permitted on the Catholic University campus during the conference, then I would ask that the President of Catholic University or his representative send me a formal letter to this effect.

Please know that my advocacy efforts on behalf of abused Haitian children are always intended to create the maximum possible amount of awareness and education so as to call attention to the plight of the abused children.

My colleagues and I know the importance of educating conference participants about the specifics of the criminal child abuse case, "United States v. Douglas Perlitz."  If you won't allow me into the building where the conference is being held, then I would like to be able to distribute leaflets to conference attendees as they are entering the building.

However, if you insist on keeping me from entering any part of the Catholic University campus, then I will have to decide if my being arrested by your call to the Washington, D.C. police will further the cause of protecting children in Haiti.

After all, Ms. Woo, it will be you, the CEO of Catholic Relief Services, who will be ordering the arrest of a long time child protection advocate, one who has visited Haiti six times in the past nine years, has helped establish a partnership between the Cathedral parish in Portland, Maine and the Cathedral parish in Cap-Haitien, has provided financial support to St. Marguerite parish in Port Margot and, for the past four years has helped provide practical and emotional support and has fiercely advocated for justice on behalf of twenty Haitian victims of child sexual abuse. 

The tenets of both Catholic social teaching and my Jesuit education provide meaning in my life, Ms. Woo. They call me to action.

For four of the past ten years, I volunteered as a board member for a southern Maine domestic violence and family crisis agency.

I volunteered for an additional four years by performing a weekly shift on the 24 hour crisis phone line (774-HELP) of Ingraham, a Maine non-profit agency.

I volunteered for two years as a member of Community Counseling Center's Trauma Intervention Program. Volunteers are on call for three 12-hour shifts each month and are called to be of service to family members (at the home, hospital, or scene of an accident) who are experiencing trauma because of the death or pending death of a loved one.
In 2002, my wife and I joined a small group from the Jesuit province in Baltimore to travel to Bolivia on a ten day "Ignatian Immersion Experience."

And, two years before that I became aware of ten former Cheverus High School students (my Jesuit alma mater) who were being mistreated and bullied by Cheverus and Jesuit officials for reporting that they were sexually abused when they were students.

It's interesting that these same Jesuits taught me that the service of my faith must include the promotion of justice. Knowing what I know of your commitment to providing aid and comfort to the poorest of the poor, Ms. Woo, I am convinced we have much in common, would enjoy each other's company, and would have much to talk about if we met.

Thanks for listening. I look forward to hearing from you.

Paul Kendrick
Freeport, Maine

Begin forwarded message:
From: Carolyn Simpkins <>
Date: April 25, 2012 5:14:09 PM EDT
To: "" <>
Subject: Registration for Haiti: One Table, Many Partners
In light of past legal and canonical issues against you, and your ongoing disruptive and harassing actions against Church personnel and colleagues,  your registration to the Haiti:  One Table, many Partners conference was not accepted.  You will not be permitted to attend the conference or be permitted on the campus of Catholic University of America.
Carolyn Simpkins

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