A trial scheduled to start next month in federal court in Portland in a defamation case against Freeport resident Paul Kendrick has been postponed for several months after the arrest of his accuser in Haiti.

Kendrick is accused in a civil case in U.S. District Court of “a malicious campaign of outrageous conduct” for making claims in waves of website postings, radio broadcasts and hundreds of emails that Michael Geilenfeld, an American man who founded a boys’ orphanage in Haiti, had sexually abused the orphans in his care.

Geilenfeld, 62, and the North Carolina charity that funds his work in Haiti, Hearts with Haiti, sued Kendrick in February 2013, more than two years after Kendrick began his campaign.

The case had been scheduled for trial on Oct. 7. But Geilenfeld’s attorneys called into question whether the trial could go forward as planned after Geilenfeld was arrested by Haitian authorities on Sept. 5 at the orphanage in the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Geilenfeld’s lead attorney in the civil case, Peter DeTroy III, said he discussed the matter in a conference call with Kendrick’s attorney and U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. and made an oral motion to postpone the trial for 90 days.

“He’s in jail, so we had to ask for a continuance,” DeTroy said. “There might be some more clarity to his situation in 90 days.”

DeTroy said the Haitian criminal justice system is so different from the American system that he cannot get a clear answer on how the case there against Geilenfeld will proceed or when Geilenfeld will be released from custody. Kendrick’s attorney, F. David Walker IV, argued unsuccessfully to have the trial go forward on Oct. 7 without Geilenfeld present.

“We objected,” Walker said. “The reason is this case has been pending for over a year, and Mr. Kendrick is looking forward to his day in court and would like to put this matter behind him.”

The judge in the Portland case also postponed a hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday on whether Kendrick should be sanctioned for continuing to broadcast accusations against Geilenfeld while the defamation case was pending.

The judge instead ordered the attorneys on both sides of the case to file written arguments and will decide later based on those arguments whether to hold the sanctions hearing, both DeTroy and Walker said.

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