Liberia: US Auditing Firm Says MTM founder Has No Judgment to Run School

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In her submission, Katie Meyler says that when Johnson’s ex-wife made a statement to her about Johnson that made her uncomfortable, “I immediately took appropriate measures to investigate and conduct due diligence to ascertain whether Johnson had committed any misconduct and to ascertain whether there was truth to or evidence of my concern.”

Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]


Monrovia- Katie Meyler, founder of the US-American charity More than Me Academy (MTMA) who recently resigned from the school has been asked by US-based law firm McLane Middleton to not serve as an employee, consultant, or volunteer to the Meyler was recommended to the international and local board to avoid contact with the school based on her previous judgment on safeguarding the students at MTM.


The audit was not an investigation into the rape allegations involving Macintosh Johnson (“Johnson”) or how MTM responded. Rather, the Audit evaluated where MTM stands now on safeguarding prevention and response.


The audit report by the firm states that Meyler’ good intentions do not excuse the devastating impact of her inadequate actions on the vulnerable girls in her care.

The safeguarding report states that for a leader of an organization entrusted with the care of children must understand the fundamental steps to be taken when abuse of a child is suspected.

She acknowledged to the firm during the interviewed, that she is “rough around the edges,” and did not detail oriented with respect to running the day to day of the organization; rather, her strengths are in fundraising.
The firm said Meyler’s continuing assertions that her actions were “adequate” and constituted “due diligence,” despite all of the education, training, and policy development about child safeguarding that has occurred at MTM since 2011, demonstrate that she does not currently have the judgment or experience to lead MTM.



“Despite denying that she knew or had reason to suspect that Johnson was abusing the girls, she goes on to acknowledge having a suspicion of misconduct in 2011. “To the extent that I ever had suspicion of misconduct, I reiterate that I took immediate actions to investigate.”


Excerpts from the preliminary report of the safeguarding audit into More Than Me.

On January 18, 2019, the firm provided the board a preliminary report of the safeguarding audit so that it could begin implementation of recommended actions.

In its March 6, 2019 interim report to the board, a recommendation of Meyler to not have a continue role with MTM as an employee, consultant, or volunteer.

On March 13, 2019, Meyler submitted a letter to the board regarding the limits of her knowledge of Mcintosh Johnson’s misconduct and the actions she took based on what she knew.

Her submission reinforced the firm concerns about her current ability to provide the leadership needed to assure effective child safeguarding.

“Despite denying that she knew or had reason to suspect that Johnson was abusing the girls, she goes on to acknowledge having a suspicion of misconduct in 2011. “To the extent that I ever had suspicion of misconduct, I reiterate that I took immediate actions to investigate.”

In her submission, she says that when Johnson’s ex-wife made a statement to her about Johnson that made her uncomfortable, “I immediately took appropriate measures to investigate and conduct due diligence to ascertain whether Johnson had committed any misconduct and to ascertain whether there was truth to or evidence of my concern.”

But the firm said it is deeply concerning that Meyler continues, to this day, to assert that her actions based on her suspicions or concerns were “adequate” and that her actions constituted “due diligence”.

The safeguarding report states that for a leader of an organization entrusted with the care of children must understand the fundamental steps to be taken when abuse of a child is suspected.

“Meyler had a duty to protect the children to whom MTM provided services. Given MTM’s mission to serve the most vulnerable girls, the duty of care was heightened. This heightened duty became urgent once Meyler had a suspicion that the girls were being molested. As soon as Meyler had a “concern” about child sexual abuse, she could have and should have asked the board for assistance. “

The report furthers that in 2011, the standard of care for child safeguarding in this situation would have been for Meyler to immediately notify the board to inform them of her serious concerns about child wellbeing and to seek guidance on how to investigate and how to notify the authorities.
“Instead of doing so, she undertook to “investigate” on her own, despite having no qualifications to do so.”

The McLane Middleton safeguarding audit report states that Meyler’s recent assertion, in her submission to the board, that her investigation was sufficient to protect the young girls is troubling. “[W]hen I did have a concern, I immediately went to the girls to investigate.

“If they had given any indication that Johnson had abused them, I would have immediately escalated the information to appropriate authorities and reporting channels, but after the girls repeatedly told me that he had not, I genuinely did not believe there was any abuse to report,” Meyler asserted.

Meanwhile, MTM has written the Minister of Education apologizing for—past failures and informing him about what they are doing to ensure that MTM students are safeguarded.

At the same time the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender and the Local Advisory Board is yet to released their report that MTM Academy consented of receiving.

“We also wish to inform you that we have received a report from the special Investigative Panel, which we are currently using as an internal document, although we have not yet concluded when and how it can be released. All of our decisions are being made as fiduciaries for, and in careful consideration of, the best interests of MTM’s students and the organization.”

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

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