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Subverted in Haiti: Kliman and colleagues Retract earlier report on alleged child rape

Dropped on:May 10, 2014
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Subverted in Haiti: Kliman and colleagues retract earlier report on alleged child rape. N. Szajnberg

The misery of Haiti is amplified by some of its own citizens.  A 2103 New York Times Review report by Berlinski (Haiti: The compromising reality. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/06/haiti-compromising-reality/?insrc=toc.) painfully, poignantly recounts multiple accounts of Western, well-intentioned well-doers have their efforts, funds subverted by some Haitians and that there is a long history and culture of such subversion. Berlinski offers few examples of successful foreign projects, usually those narrow in scope and whose foreign principal moves to, lives among and administers the funds.

Earlier Kliman reported here his initial efforts at the request of a Haitian, Frandy Daniel, to abate child rape in Haiti refuge camps.  But, when Kliman sought to document his efforts, information became elusive, Frandy became evasive, and alleged documents fraudulent.  Here is Kliman and colleagues account of both their efforts and the painstaking process of learning how well-meaning and well-funded efforts can be subverted.

 

N. Szajnberg, MD

 

 

Retraction of Daniel, Kliman and Kliman’s (2012) Child-rape rates of 300/month in seven Haitian earthquake refugee camps are dropping to zero.

Gilbert Kliman, M.D. and Jodie Kliman, Ph.D.

The agency called UNEV of Haiti, initially contacted The Children’s Psychological Health Center of San Francisco in 2012. Its Director, Frandy Daniel, asked for Gilbert Kliman’s help with an anti-rape project for Haitian children. UNEV-Haiti is a nonprofit organization based in Port-au-Prince, whose stated mission is the prevention of violence against children and elderly persons.  It was founded by and is headed by Frandy Daniel, a Haitian who originally claimed he had a Ph.D. in psychology, a claim later withdrawn by him in 2013. Until encountering such misrepresentations, we were extremely pleased to be invited into what we believed would be an effective collaboration to help child rape survivors and to prevent future rapes. Numerous forensic projects conducted by our agency in the U.S. and disaster-related projects within and far outside the U.S. had been successful and conducted with easy accountability and verifiability. We therefore deeply regret the need to suspend our collaborative work in Haiti and to retract as unverifiable some of the most important data from this project.

This article constitutes a specific retraction of some of the findings of an earlier article in International Psychoanalysis (Daniel, Kliman & Kliman, 2012).[1] That contained verified quantitative and qualitative findings by Gilbert Kliman, but contained unverified reports of quantitative findings that we now regard as unreliable and unsubstantiated.

Here is what we now know.  In early October 2012, John Fowler of Channel Two, San Francisco, interviewed G. Kliman and skyped with F. Daniel and several Haitian children who spoke on public television about having been raped in displaced persons camps.  We were impressed by the children’s openness; we had expected reticence and shame. To assess the extent of child rape further, G. Kliman flew to meet with Daniel met near Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 21-22, 2012.  Together, they met with assemblies of about 200 people each day in Camp Haiti-Bloc, a displaced persons camp of 500 residents. At those meetings, 33 girls publicly described their rapes and subsequent suffering. They said that they wanted their plights broadcast on Haitian and U.S television so as to receive justice, help and safety. Many of those children named and clearly identified their alleged assailants.   Jodie Kliman, who speaks French and understands some Haitian Creole, skyped into that meeting and understood much of what the girls said. The videotapes have been preserved by G. Kliman.

In October, 2012 and January, 2013, Kliman interviewed seven individual children from multiple camps, aged 2-18 years, some with their parents. These were detailed videotaped forensic interviews. Using Raskin’s (2000) criteria,[2] G. Kliman, a forensic child psychiatrist, concluded that the complaints were probably authentic.  In addition, Gilbert Kliman met in person with the Mayor and the police chief of Delmas, the police chief of Cité Soleil, and the chief assistant to the Prime Minister Lamothe of Haiti; Frandy Daniel always was present.  We later received emails in support of the project forwarded via Daniel, which appeared to be from both police chiefs and the Mayor, as well as notices of grants from The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Rotary Club of Haiti.   Since then, we have learned that some of correspondence was forged, according to the very people who allegedly sent them. This finding of reported forgeries was based on responses by persons whose names and signatures were on letterheads forwarded by Daniel.  Therefore we consider the correspondence and all data not derived directly from G. Kliman’s interviews of the children to be unverified.  In fact, other than our interviews of the children and their parents, and despite our long and strenuous efforts, we have been unable to verify the baseline rape rates or justice system outcome data (see below) that Frandy Daniel supplied.

Th still-unverified and therefore suspect data include:

a) Original reports of pre-intervention child-rape rates: These were reported by Daniel as 300 per month among seven earthquake survivor camps that had a combined population of about 300,500 two years after the 2010 earthquake.  Daniel reported these data to Kliman, reportedly based on Daniel’s census of the seven camps.

b) Reports by Daniel concerning six camps and by the nurse who heads up Camp Haiti-Bloc Citizen’s Committee that, since the above-described October 21-22, 2012 public meetings with child rape survivors and their families, child rapes in the seven camps had dropped from 300/month to zero for several months.

c) Letters and emails from local police departments and judges, promising support in arresting and prosecuting rapists, supposedly because of the project’s interventions and public meetings: some of these documents have been labeled as forgeries by the police chiefs and judges in whose names they were written.

d) Daniel’s reports of multiple arrests, prosecutions, and jailings occurring of alleged child-rapists as a direct result of the project.   These reports are denied by the Delmas Chief of Police and a judge to whose court the cases were supposedly assigned.

e) Daniel’s report that donations to UNEV by the Children’s Psychological Health Center had been used to set up and operate a safe house for girls whose lives had been threatened after going public with their rapes. Daniel has repeatedly refused to give our agency access to said safe house, if it exists.

f) Daniel’s transmission of a judge’s request for Kliman’s forensic psychiatric testimony in a Haitian court:  the judge denies having written these.

Some further details: CPHC and G. Kliman personally have repeatedly tried to verify the validity of Daniel’s baseline and follow-up reports and existence of 6,000 initial records, but have been unable to do so. Resistance to such scrutiny has been remarkable. Daniel has consistently delayed, obstructed and finally refused to cooperate in efforts to share approximately 3,500 records of the 6,000 he claims to have for child rape reports since 2010.  A former U.S. secret service officer and presidential bodyguard hired by CPHC to protect and assist G. Kliman in Haiti and an attorney representing CPHC who had been recommended by the U.S. Embassy in Haiti were all denied access to the supposed safe house. They, G. Kliman, the CPHC agency’s executive director, and a Haitian Creole-speaking agency representative were also denied access to what Daniel described as the most important underlying data: approximately 3,500 records that Daniel claimed had been reviewed by Haitian judges’ clerks for prosecution

The Haitian Ministry of Child Protection has now denied the authenticity of earlier letters supposedly reporting on 13 visits to the safe house to which CPHC representatives had been denied access.  The Ministry of Women’s Matters has denied the authenticity of earlier requests that CPHC purchase and post billboards against rape.  CPHC has also been unable to confirm that a march in protest against rape that Daniel reportedly had videotaped in the town of Delmas, supposedly with the support of the police chief, ever happened.

Multiple UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund Agency) officials are continuing to be unresponsive as of April 22 2014 to our year of administrative and attorney efforts to communicate with them. We are thus unable to verify and are necessarily skeptical of the authenticity of their correspondence and telephone contacts concerning approval and planned April 17, 2013 funding of a large grant to the Children’s Psychological Health Center, Inc. of San Francisco and UNEV of Haiti.

Conclusions:  Haiti’s raped children need for protection is clear. But, we cannot verify the baseline and outcome data of our work.  We urge caution and thorough vigilance for any future work by agencies trying to help Haitian psychological trauma victims. Traumatized children may be used to appeal for funding. As in other Haitian projects, victims and funds have been misused.  Foreign sources of project funding appear to have been diverted for personal use.(North, 2010, 2013) The unverifiability of outcome reports sharply contrasts with our work with our agency’s use of therapeutic workbooks in China, Gaza, Israel, the U.S., and our own previous work in Haiti itself.

It is a hazard to children’s agencies working in developing countries without reliable governmental enforcement of laws or existing stable social service infrastructures. Some aspects in this case are underlegal investigation. We had originally been led to believe that we had cooperation from Haitian law enforcement, judges and social services, as well as very significant forthcoming financial support from UNFPA.  Their correspondence was falsified, according to the officials in whose names they had been written.

We continue to hope that improvements in the police, justice and social service systems of Haiti can help Haitian children who complain against predators. Further work to prevent and treat the endemic rape of children as well as adults in displaced persons camps world-wide is essential, despite the disappointments of the current project.  We will report further on these aspects in later essays.  Our focus will be on contrasting the Haitian experience with other more favorable collaborative experiences in disaster and trauma interventions in China, Gaza, Israel, the Philippines, and previously within Haiti as well as with somewhat comparable disaster relief, social service and justice system collaborations in the U.S.  As we write, our guided activity workbooks are available for use of communities dealing with school shootings, and the recent devastations by tornados.  But we will not forget our waste of energies.

In a future publication we will give more detail and review our own personal and administrative difficulties in the light of similar experiences other agencies have had in Haiti. Thus we can possibly fortify heightened vigilance and oversight in attempting such collaborations in the developing world.

References

1. Berlinski, M. (2013). Haiti: The compromising reality.  New York Times Book Review (June 6, 2013), p. 56. Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/06/haiti-compromising-reality/?insrc=toc.

2. Daniel, F. Kliman, G. & Kliman, J. (2012) Child-rape rates of 300/month in seven Haitian earthquake refugee camps are dropping to zero. International Psychoanalysis. net  Electronic file retrieved from file:///Users/jodiekliman/Desktop/JK%20PUBLICATIONS/Daniel,%20Kliman%20&%20Kliman%20(2012)%20International%20Psychoanalysis%20»%20Blog%20Archive%20»%20Child-rape%20Rates%20of%20300:month%20in%20Seven%20Haitian%20Earthqu.webarchive

3. Kliman, G., Ferdinand, D., Kliman, J., Hudicourt, C., Ferdinand, A., Oklan, E., & Wolfe, H. (2010). Istwa pa m sou tranblemanntè Ayiti a: Yon kaye aktivite ak konsèy pou timoun, fanmi, pwofesè ak tout moun ki responsaba timoun yo (My own story about the earthquake in Haiti: A guided activity textbook for schools, teachers, children families, and caregivers).  San Francisco & Boston: Children’s Psychological Health Center and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Downloadable at http://www.childrenspsychologicalhealthcenter.org/content/view/62/44/

4. North, J. (2010) Haiti’s structural crisis. The Nation. (Dec. 17, 2010) retrieved from http://www.thenation.com/article/157201/haitis-structural-crisis

5. Raskin, D. (2000). Content-based criteria concerning childhood allegations of sexual abuse. In J. Doris, (ed.) Children as witnesses. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.

Correspondence to gilbertkliman2008@gmail.com or Gilbert Kliman, M.D., Medical Director, The Children’s Psychological Health Center, Inc. 2105 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94115 www.childrenspsychological.org

 

1] Daniel, F. Kliman, G. & Kliman, J. (2012) Child-rape rates of 300/month in seven Haitian earthquake refugee camps are dropping to zero. International Psychoanalysis. net  Electronic file retrieved from file:///Users/jodiekliman/Desktop/JK%20PUBLICATIONS/Daniel,%20Kliman%20&%20Kliman%20(2012)%20International%20Psychoanalysis%20»%20Blog%20Archive%20»%20Child-rape%20Rates%20of%20300:month%20in%20Seven%20Haitian%20Earthqu.webarchive

[2] Raskin, D. (2000). Content-based criteria concerning childhood allegations of sexual abuse. In J. Doris, (ed.) Children as witnesses. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.

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