Douglas Perlitz: Guilty plea by founder of Haiti boys school whose students he sexually abused

Before a hurricane devastated the island nation of Haiti, Douglas Perlitz was a disaster for many of the boys who attended a school he founded there. Perlitz, who'd been living in Eagle prior to his arrest this past September, has pleaded guilty to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. But if an indictment filed against him is accurate, he took part in such activities a lot more often than that.

The Douglas Perlitz indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut last year, states that he founded a boys school called Project Pierre Toussaint back in 1997. For the next eleven years, he traveled frequently to the town of Cap-Haitien, where he recruited "male street children" to attend the now-shuttered facility. But education wasn't all he offered. From the document:

In order to entice and persuade the children to comply with the sex acts, PERLITZ provided the promise of food and shelter and also provided monetary and other benefits, including, but not limited to, U.S. and foreign currency, cell phones, other electronics, shoes, clothes, and other items...

As part of his grooming process, PERLITZ would take a minor to a restaurant where he would provide the minor with food and alcohol and then encourage the minor to spend the night in his bedroom at Bel Air so that he could sexually abuse him....

When minors stayed with PERLITZ at Bel Air, he at times instructed them to sleep in his room where he engaged in sex acts or attempted to engage in sex acts with minors...

If minors refused to engage in sex acts, PERLITZ would at times withhold benefits or threaten to expel them from the program.

The case was originally filed in Connecticut because that's where Perlitz lived before relocating to Colorado. As for his future location, that's up in the air. He's slated to be sentenced on December 21, and he could receive a sentence of up to thirty years in prison.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts