By Christa Rodriguez || Campus Life Editor
Former Common Hour speaker Katie Meyler, founder and CEO of the nongovernmental organization More Than Me, temporarily resigned after a rape scandal within her organization.
About two years ago, Meyler visited campus to talk about her organization, highlighting the progress they had made toward educating girls in Liberia and helping out during the Ebola crisis.
She spoke on how she had received support from the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to build the first tuition-free all-girls school in Liberia. Since then, she went on to become TIME person of the year in 2014, and has had support from numerous influential people like Oprah Winfrey and former president Barack Obama (BBC).
Now, More Than Me is in the spotlight for a different reason. Propublica and Time magazine revealed abuse reports, causing Meyler to step down from her position as CEO.
Back in 2013, when More Than Me opened its first school, a local man, Macintosh Johnson was hired to recruit vulnerable girls for the school. The report says he raped several of them. He later died in prison from AIDS, and one girl has since tested positive for HIV (BBC).
Johnson was a local person in charge of organizing in West Point, Liberia. Girls ten years old and up were victims. According to the girls that testified in court, he took advantage of his power over them, threatening to take away their scholarship if they told (NPR).
At the time, Meyler had been made aware of his sexual abuse, but when she asked the girls, they denied it, and nothing was done (NPR). The board of directors of More Than Me claim the only one to blame is Johnson, and that they took immediate action against him. The board stated, “It is beyond disheartening and extremely sad to see ProPublica depict the organization in such a decidedly one-sided, biased and inaccurate manner, and we vigorously deny their characterization of our actions, or lack thereof” (BBC). They also extended an apology and emphasized their dedication to continuing their support for the survivors as well the surrounding community in Liberia affected by these events (BBC).
Senior Christa Rodriguez is the Campus Life Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.