Monrovia – Facebook and Twitter are buzzing with calls for action to be taken against American charity organization More Than Me after an investigation report unearthed how many young Liberian girls were sexually abused.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
Of 1,000 people , 894 have signed the petition.
Saki Golafe, Liberian who started the petition encouraged people to sign it to bring Katie Meyler and the leadership of her organization to justice in order to save a generation of girls in poor countries from another sexual predator.
MTM was founded in 2009 by Katie Meyler to help get girls from the street to school, but this yearlong investigation conducted in collaboration with Time Magazine, revealed that the girls were raped from the onset. The perpetrator was originally described as the charity’s co-founder, an ex-combatant named Macintosh Johnson, with whom Meyler was having a sexual relationship.
Soon after the founding, according to witnesses and court documents revealed in the report, Johnson began raping girls as young as 10. Admissions from Meyler herself said the number of girls who were raped at the More Than Me academy could have been a quarter of the school, “everyone over the age of 11.”
Some of the girls became pregnant. Johnson threatened if they didn’t abort the pregnancy or if they told anyone of the abuse, he would take them off scholarship at the school. He even threatened to kill some.
More Than Me has raised more than $8m in funding, nearly $600,000 of that from the US government. Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf showered praise on Meyler and presided over the opening of the More Than Me Academy in 2013. She gave Meyler the building for free and said her wish was, “to expand Katie Meyler’s initiative to as many communities as possible.”
President Sirleaf got that wish in 2016-2017 as MTM was given control of 19 schools in Liberia, educating 4,000 students. MTM’s goal is to run 500 schools by 2021, educating half a million students. Meyler appeared with George Werner, the education minister, in international education forums advocating the education system be given over to the private sector. The message led eventually to the deal with Bridge International.
Gabe Itoka on the comments said “We cannot allow the board and the founder to not be held responsible. Claiming being naïve when the very girls that trusted you to protect and help them ended up being victims of rape and exploitation. Donor funding is the only thing MTM cares about with the appearance of “helping”.
Zota KORTI “I am joining my voice to the many who believe Katie Meyler and her foundation should be held responsible for what happened to the young girls on and off the school grounds. She and the monster Macintosh Johnson were co-founders of the organization. She bares equally responsibility for what he did to the many young girls.”
Isaac Tukpah “I am signing this petition because I believe this situation needs to be formally investigated and justice served. The girls were very vulnerable and did not need to be further exploited as discussed in the expose. We hope the justice systems in the United States and Liberia will investigate this case to the fullest and ensure that justice is carried out.”
Victoria Whitaker “The management of this ‘organization’ should have acted in the best interests of the girls they were claiming to help. Instead they allowed the abuse to continue, while vulnerable girls were impregnated and infected with HIV. This organization should be closed down with immediate effect, and the management should be held accountable for these heinous violations.”