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Appeals court upholds dismissal of orphanage founder lawsuit

BOSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against a Maine activist who publicized sexual abuse accusations against a Haiti orphanage founder.

A federal jury concluded in 2015 that Paul Kendrick defamed orphanage founder Michael Geilenfeld and awarded more than $14 million in damages. But a judge later ruled that Geilenfeld lacked grounds to sue in a U.S. courtroom because the Iowa native wasn’t living in the U.S. when he filed his claim.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the suit.

Geilenfeld, founder of St. Joseph’s Home for Boys in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, accused Kendrick of making unsubstantiated accusations that led to him being imprisoned for eight months and cost the Hearts with Haiti charity several million dollars in donations.

Kendrick continues to assert the abuse allegations are true and said more victims have come forward to testify if there’s another trial in state court.

“The victims in Haiti will have their day in court if (they) dare to bring this to court again,” he said.

Geilenfeld’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Thursday.

The orphanage Geilenfeld founded was shut down.

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