Freeport resident Paul Kendrick remained defiant in court Friday, asking, “What would you have me do?” during testimony in the federal defamation lawsuit against him.

Kendrick has been so vocal in his accusations that Michael Geilenfeld, an American founder of an orphanage in Haiti, abused children that Geilenfeld’s attorneys in Maine are now seeking further sanctions against him, even before the defamation case goes to trial.

Kendrick admitted on the witness stand in U.S. District Court in Portland that he violated a judge’s order against disseminating confidential information from the case by including the information in emails to hundreds of recipients and in blog submissions. But in response to a question by Geilenfeld’s attorney, Devin Deane, he said that for him not to do so would be like walking by a burning building without sounding an alarm.

“I’m not a stupid man, Mr. Deane,” Kendrick said, acknowledging that he knew about the court gag order before he broke it. “But I had already heard testimony of child sexual abuse in Haiti, and my heart bleeds for them.”

Kendrick is accused of “a malicious campaign of outrageous conduct” for claiming in waves of website postings, radio broadcasts and hundreds of emails that Geilenfeld abused children. Kendrick is also accused of defaming Hearts with Haiti, the North Carolina charity that funds Geilenfeld’s work.

The defamation case had been scheduled for trial Oct. 7 last year, but was put on hold after Geilenfeld was arrested by Haitian authorities on Sept. 5 at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince on the same allegations of child sex abuse that Kendrick is accused of raising. It is unclear when, or if, Geilenfeld will be released from jail.

Geilenfeld’s lawyers hold Kendrick responsible for Geilenfeld’s arrest by Haitian authorities. Deane told the judge that they plan to revise the defamation case to add a charge of wrongful imprisonment against Kendrick.

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. said during Friday’s pretrial hearing that the question of whether Kendrick’s accusations against Geilenfeld are true won’t be decided until trial, making it difficult for him to determine what sanctions would be appropriate against Kendrick for violating the court order.

“Questions of the sanctions seem obviously, from my perspective, interrelated with the merits of the case,” Woodcock said. He made no immediate ruling on possible sanctions against Kendrick.

Kendrick has already been sanctioned once, for $1,000, since the defamation case was first brought in February 2013.

Deane asked that Kendrick be given “extreme sanctions” this time because it would be his second offense. Deane proposed that Kendrick be fined $50,000, found in contempt of court and possibly jailed, that his defense options be limited and that he be ordered to pay Geilenfeld’s legal fees.

“The defendant must know that this conduct must stop and that it’s not a slap on the wrist and back to business as usual,” Deane said.

Much of Deane’s argument for sanctions focused on the release of Haitian court depositions, interviews with former orphans who claim Geilenfeld sexually assaulted them, and Kendrick’s distribution of a list of donors whose money supported Geilenfeld’s orphanage.

Kendrick was testy under Deane’s questioning, initially crossing his arms and refusing to answer questions on the witness stand until the judge told him to answer.

“What would you have me do with information that a member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association has his own room at the orphanage?” Kendrick said, often answering Deane’s questions with his own. “What in God’s name would you have me do when my concern is making sure that the kids on that campus are safe and that the victims who have come forward are heard?”

Kendrick’s attorney, F. David Walker IV, said at the end of Friday’s hearing that Kendrick would agree to check with him before disseminating any more confidential court evidence.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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