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Defamation suit against Freeport man over Haiti sex abuse claim settled

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Michael Geilenfeld, right, arrives at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2015 in Portland. An attorney says a defamation lawsuit against a Maine activist who accused an orphanage founder in Haiti of being a serial pedophile has been settled. Paul Kendrick’s attorney told The Associated Press that the defendant’s insurance companies agreed to pay $3 million to Hearts With Haiti but nothing to orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld. The attorney says Hearts With Haiti and Geilenfeld dropped their defamation claims. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

PORTLAND — A defamation lawsuit against an activist who accused an orphanage founder in Haiti of being a serial pedophile has been settled, ending a lawsuit that has dragged on for six years, an attorney said. 

Paul Kendrick’s insurance companies agreed to pay $3 million to Hearts With Haiti, but nothing to orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld, attorney Mark Randall, who represents Kendrick, told The Associated Press. Hearts With Haiti and Geilenfeld dropped their defamation claims, he said. 

Activist Paul Kendrick of Freeport poses outside U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The settlement ends a case that has dragged on since 2013. Kendrick said the effort was worth it because he believes children are now safer. 

Kendrick, who stands by his claims against Geilenfeld, said he’s satisfied because the lawsuit aired the accusations and because Geilenfeld gets nothing from the settlement. The money will be used by the charity to help disabled children in Haiti, he said. 

“It does not mean the brave victims coming forward have done so in vain,” Kendrick said. “The testimonies in evidence against Geilenfeld belong in a criminal investigation.” 

Attorneys who represented Hearts With Haiti and Geilenfeld didn’t immediately return calls and emails seeking comment. The whereabouts of Geilenfeld, a U.S. citizen, are unknown. The former Catholic brother previously testified that the abuse allegations were “vicious, vile lies.” 

Kendrick said he’s spoken to 16 young men who have said Geilenfeld abused them in Port-au-Prince years ago, when they were boys. Geilenfeld founded the St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-Au-Prince in 1985. 

North Carolina-based Hearts with Haiti and Geilenfeld contended Kendrick ruined Geilenfeld’s reputation and cost the charity millions with an email campaign that raised unsubstantiated claims. Geilenfeld also blamed Kendrick’s campaign for his 237-day imprisonment in Haiti. 

In 2015, a federal jury awarded $14.5 million to Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti, despite testimony from seven men who said they were sexually abused as boys. The case was refiled in state court after a U.S. appeals court ruled that a federal courtroom in Maine was the wrong jurisdiction. 

Kendrick, of Freeport, Maine, became an outspoken voice during the New England church abuse scandal and co-founded the Maine chapter of the Voice of the Faithful. He said he began targeting Geilenfeld after hearing from men who said they’d been victimized by him in Haiti. 

If the lawsuit had gone before another jury, Kendrick said there would have been more victims willing to testify. 

Randall said Geilenfeld’s willingness to drop the defamation claim paved the way to the settlement and the lawsuit being withdrawn. He said it’s a victory for the children who benefit from the settlement — and for Kendrick because claims of wrongdoing have been dropped. 

“The end result is that children are safer,” he said. The victim’s allegations are now in the hands of law enforcement officials, he said. 

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Extra cricket benefitted me, says Alyssa Healy

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Dubai [UAE], September 17 (ANI): Amid a busy schedule, Australia women batter Alyssa Healy said that ‘extra cricket’ has benefitted her game.

“I think it’s becoming more and more important for us [to manage our downtime]. We’re learning on our feet how to be professional cricketers and playing around the world quite frequently, but the girls are getting a lot better at managing their downtime,” ICC quoted Healy as saying.

“I’m [feeling] good, it helps when you can laze around on the beach all day and drink some mocktails. I’m enjoying my time here, it’s been a busy couple of months but I made that decision to play the extra cricket and I think it’s benefited me,” she added.

Currently, Healy is featuring for her team on their Caribbean tour which follows an all-format Ashes series which took place in July. Before the Ashes series, she played with Yorkshire Diamonds in the Women’s Cricket Super League.

Australia women registered a massive nine-wicket victory over West Indies women on Tuesday. Healy, while chasing a target of 98 runs, scored unbeaten 58 runs.

Healy expressed her dissatisfaction with her innings but said that victory is all that matters.

“It was one of the more ugly innings that I’ll have, but to get a win, that’s what really matters and hopefully we get a nice true wicket in a couple of days’ time and we can make a big total if need be,” Healy said.

Australia have won first two T20I against West Indies and the third T20I match will be played on September 19. (ANI)

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From the US to Ghana, a Taste of Home in the Homeland

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ACCRA, GHANA – African Americans are being encouraged to visit Ghana to mark 400 years since the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade. In the capital, Accra, one returnee chef is awaiting U.S. visitors to give them a taste of home in the homeland.

At her roadside cafe in Accra, Chef Sage cooks up food influenced by her time in the United States, the Caribbean and Ghana. Spices from her lentil burgers waft into the air, as members of her loyal customer base take their seats at the outdoor tables.

“I had that Southern influence, my grandmother with cornbread and macaroni cheese – the whole soul food works, and then also being in the Caribbean, having that Caribbean influence as well. I don’t know if a lot of people residing in Africa know that the foods in the Caribbean are so similar, you have direct descendants coming from Africa to the Caribbean,” Sage said.

Chef Sage — she prefers not to use her real name — says she’s seeing more African American customers who are in Ghana for “Year of Return” activities, visiting to mark 400 years since the start of the transatlantic slave trade.

They sit alongside regular customers as Chef Sage and her family serve up plant-based fusion meals. Chef Sage was born in Brooklyn, New York, moved to Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a child and in 2005 relocated to Ghana.

“I think when African Americans relocate to Ghana, we do consider this our homeland and we are happy to be here but that food, you are still looking for what you are accustomed too. So I think I attract African Americans because I still have those flavors infused in the food,” Sage said.

Chef Sage does private catering in Accra, as well as her weekly roadside cafe. The menu changes weekly but can include anything from sweet potato pie to tacos to fusion salads – all made with local ingredients.

Customers like Grisel Industrioso say the food is about good taste and community.

“You have people from Jamaica, different Caribbean islands, from you have people from North America, America itself but from different places, you have people from California and from the East like myself but there is something that brings us together as one people. We can all relate to this food,” Industrioso said.

The links between food in Ghana and the United States are something Essie Bartels, a Ghanaian food entrepreneur, also explores. Her spice mixes and sauces aim to show the similarities in food cultures around the world, especially those with African heritage.

“Being able to see where all these hotspots of flavors are and bringing them together, that is what I am trying to do with Essie Spice and that is what I hope the Year of Return will do to inspire people to see how connected even food is around the world,” Bartels said.

Bartels and Chef Sage say the Year of Return is a good time to reflect on shared history and heritage.

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Bermuda Battens Down for Category 3 Hurricane Humberto

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MIAMI, FLORIDA – Bermuda’s government called up troops and urged people on the British Atlantic island to make final preparations for an expected close brush Wednesday with Hurricane Humberto, a powerful Category 3 storm. Authorities ordered early closings of schools, transportation and government offices.

Gov. John Rankin called up 120 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment to prepare for possible storm recovery efforts and National Security Minister Wayne Caines said schools, government offices and ferries on the island would close at noon and bus service would halt at 4 p.m.

Officials expected tropical storm-force winds to begin whipping at Bermuda in the morning and warned that hurricane-force gusts would probably last until early Thursday. Humberto was predicted to pass just north of the territory of some 70,000 people, though a small shift in its path could bring the storm over the island itself.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Humberto’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 120 mph (195 kph) and it would probably remain a Category 3 hurricane through Thursday, though there could be some fluctuations in its winds. The storm was centered about 195 miles (310 kilometers) west of Bermuda early Wednesday, moving east-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph).

In Texas, the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda threatened to drench parts of Southwest Texas and southwestern Louisiana with up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain over the next few days. It was the first named storm to hit the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey’s much heavier rains flooded more than 150,000 homes around the city and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Tropical Storm Jerry also formed Wednesday morning, forecast to become a hurricane as it nears the outermost Caribbean islands Thursday night or Friday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lorena was moving off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and forecasters now expect it to become a hurricane Friday as it approaches shore. They warned of heavy rains and flooding to resorts from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes. Lorena had top winds of 65 mph (100 kph) early Wednesday and was centered about 120 miles (195 kilometers) south-southeast of Manzanillo, moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).

Further off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Tropical Storm Mario also was expected to be a hurricane by Friday as it approaches the southern tip of Baja California and become nearly stationary through Friday night.

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