Relief agency sought to settle abuse cases

Sep 16, 2019 by

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An attorney representing Christian Aid Ministries has acknowledged the Anabaptist relief organization made settlement offers to sexual abuse victims of a CAM relief worker in Haiti, but does not believe any settlements have been finalized.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported attorney Robert Flores said on Aug. 31 that CAM representatives made settlement offers to alleged victims in Haiti but are now stopping that effort.

Former CAM worker Jeriah Mast is accused of sexually assaulting boys in Haiti and the United States. He pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts of gross sexual imposition at his July 3 arraignment in Holmes County, Ohio.

His church — Shining Light Christian Fellowship in Mill­ersburg — said in a June 12 statement that Mast began confessing sins within 24 hours after arriving back in the U.S. after allegations surfaced in Haiti. CAM placed two leaders on administrative leave June 17 after it was revealed they knew of sexual abuse allegations as early as 2013.

Cash offers of at least $8,000 per Haitian victim were initially reported Aug. 23 by victim advocate Trudy Metzger on her blog, splash4ripples.com. She wrote that five CAM teams searched Haiti for “as many as 100 victims of Jeriah Mast” and offered cash without the presence of legal representation for victims.

She quoted an Aug. 9 letter from CAM stating the board “has authorized a committee in Haiti to carefully consider each case and provide settlement and appropriate assistance for needs of victims.”

Metzger maintains some offers have been accepted, but the Post-Gazette reported Flores did not believe any settlements had been finalized, and none will be.

A June statement from CAM stated the organization “has not authorized any settlement payments.”

Flores told the Post-Gazette the settlements were “well-meaning but not the way” to respond to the allegations. He said a more appropriate response would include provisions for therapy and not preclude cooperation in a criminal investigation.


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