PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge on Monday dismissed a defamation suit against a Maine activist who publicized sexual abuse accusations against a Haiti orphanage founder.
The latest twist in the complicated case comes nearly a year after a federal jury concluded that Paul Kendrick defamed Michael Geilenfeld, founder of St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince, and awarded more than $14 million in damages.
The jury had ruled against Kendrick even though seven accusers testified that they were sexually abused by Geilenfeld in Haiti.
Geilenfeld said Kendrick made unsubstantiated accusations that were "vicious, vile lies." He also blamed Kendrick's campaign for him being imprisoned for 237 days and for costing the Hearts with Haiti charity several million dollars in donations.
The Portland Press Herald reported Monday that even though Kendrick lost in U.S. District Court in Portland last summer, an appellate court ruling in Boston questioned whether the case ever belonged in federal court.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock Jr. ruled Monday that Geilenfeld wasn't living in the U.S. when he filed his claim against Kendrick and the case had no grounds to be heard in a U.S. court.
Kendrick's attorney, F. David Walker IV, said that Woodcock's ruling "essentially nullifies the jury verdict," The Press Herald reported.
He said Geilenfeld and Hearts with Haiti could appeal Woodcock's dismissal of the case.