Monrovia, Liberia- Katie Meyler, the Chief Executive officer of the controversial American NGO, More Than Me, has recused herself from all activities of the organization until investigation into the sexual abuse debacle can be concluded.
According to reports, the Liberian Advisory Board of the organization made the announcement over the weekend in Monrovia, and said, inconsistent statements by the More Than Me leadership, coupled with new information relating to the abuse allegations, led to the decision.
As it can be recalled, an employee of the organization, Macintosh Johnson (deceased) with whom Ms. Katie Meyler had a sexual relationship, raped underage girls who were under his watch.
Court documents revealed, Johnson raped girls as young as 10-years old, and it is alleged that his act went across a quarter of the school.
A member of the local board told our Monrovia correspondent, an investigative panel has been formulated to look in a matters relating to the allegations.
“Members of the panel include National Civil Society organizations, the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), Independent Human Rights Commission, REACH, Servant of All Prayers (SOAP) and Disaster Victims of Liberia”, a board member said.
The investigative panel is expected to be headed by Cllr. Negbalee Warner.
The Ministry of Education has stated that they are very concerned over the story. The Ministry which has an educational partnership with MTM said, it takes the allegation very seriously, and will swiftly address the issue.
Meanwhile, a planned town hall meeting slated for Sunday was postponed due to a request by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor. Ms. Barkue Tubman, organizer of the meeting said, based on a request from the Vice President, the meeting was postponed. She said, the intent of the meeting is to find a holistic solution to the situation and that it should involve all parties.
A release from the Vice President Office on Saturday condemned the act, but also called on the public to allow government carry out some due diligence on the issue.
In the meantime, many rights advocates and ordinary Liberians have criticized the More Than Me Foundation for not adequately addressing the original allegations. Critics have also been skeptical of the government’s approach to the issue, and are calling on the Ministries of Justice, Gender and Education to act in the matter swiftly.
However, some Liberians in support of Ms. Meyler said, the crime committed by Mr. Johnson should not overshadow the many contributions she has made to young Liberian women. Supporters of Ms. Meyler argued that Johnson single-handedly carried out his crime, and the burden should not be laid on the organization.