Diaspora

Polo player Bertrand accuses former sports minister of rape – Haitian Times

The Haitian Times
Bridging the gap
Port-au-Prince — Haitian polo player Claude Alix Bertrand has accused Evans Lescouflair, Haiti’s former minister of sports, of sexually abusing him when Bertrand was 11. 
“It was hell,” said Bertrand from the show’s “Let’s Talk About Rape” segment, which aired January 26. “I wasn’t one to contemplate suicide, but I wanted to die. I asked God to let me die to escape from that situation.”
Bertrand, 46, leveled the accusation last week on an Instagram program, No Filter Channel, at times in graphic detail. He said the abuse began when Lescouflair taught physical education at Institution Saint-Louis de Gonzague, the prestigious primary and secondary Catholic school in Port-au-Prince. Bertrand said he tried to get himself kicked out of the school to escape the abuse, to no avail.
The molestation then continued well into Bertrand’s teen years, with Lescouflair devising various means to dupe Bertrand’s family into allowing him to spend time with the child. 
“This happened under everyone’s nose, and no one knew a thing,” Bertrand continued. “I was scared to talk.”
At the age of 21, Bertrand said, he finally told his family about the abuse. Although his family was upset and scores more have complained against the former official, nothing happened to Lescouflair because, Bertrand said, Haiti’s justice system is so weak.
Bertrand now lives abroad, according to his Instagram account, and leads the Haiti Polo Team. He said he is sharing his story publicly as a way to stop the fear he has carried of his abuser and to encourage parents to be aware of potential abusers who may be the cause of a change in a child’s behavior.
“Pay attention to these predators,” Bertrand warned. “These are people who plan their actions.”
Rape and pedophilia complaints were filed against the former minister in 2010, in Port-au-Prince, according to Le Nouvelliste. They stemmed from actions that reportedly took place in January of that year, but were brought to light shortly before that year’s presidential elections. 
Bertrand, named in 2014 as Haiti’s Goodwill Ambassador by former president Michel Martelly   and “Hot polo player of the year,” by Sidelines, was a member of the Gay Polo League in 2011. He has been a practicing architect, designer and restaurant chain owner before he played polo professionally. 
Lescouflair lives in Haiti. Recently, according to Zoom Live TV, he escaped a kidnapping attempt on the road to the Toussaint Louverture International Airport. 
J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded “Yonn Ede Lot” (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that worked with volunteer groups in La Montagne (“Lamontay”), Haiti from 2007-2013. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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by J.O. Haselhoef, The Haitian Times
February 1, 2022
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