MONROVIA, Montserrado – Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, has announced that she is temporarily stepping down as chief executive officer following the organization’s Liberia Advisory Board recommendation for an independent investigation into allegations of widespread negligence by the institution in protecting underage girls from sexual abuse and exploitation.
Meyler welcomed the board’s decision and promised to cooperate with the investigation.
“I support the Advisory Board’s decision and will cooperate fully with the investigative firm, and I believe stepping aside while the investigation is underway will further the goal of a thorough and impartial review,” she noted in a letter.
Meyler says she is confident that the results of the investigation will determine the best way forward for the organization.
In a letter published on More Than Me’s website, the local advisory board said it regrets the reported cases of sexual exploitation of some of the institution’s students. The organization says the Liberian board was founded in 2015 to advise the U.S. board on activities of the charity institution. Its investigation aims to find a common ground between the inconsistencies found in the ProPublica publication and reports by the leadership of More Than Me.
The board disclosed that it has constituted an independent panel comprising of prominent civil society organizations to review the circumstances and allegations.
This panel will have no one who is associated with More Than Me involved, the board further disclosed. Institutions on the panel include the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia, Disaster Victims Association of Liberia, and Servants of All Prayer.
At the same time, the organization says its global board delegated a three-member select committee last month ahead of the publication to probe into the issue. The select committee will select a law firm with education and investigatory expertise to conduct a separate in-depth and independent audit of the organization, including its governing structure.
“We are working closely with More Than Me’s Liberian Advisory Board, which will oversee a separate investigation conducted by a Liberian-based law firm,” it said in a letter also published on the organization’s website.
The select committee is said to be made up of board members with no business ties to More Than Me and who joined the board toward the end of 2015, after the events related to Macintosh Johnson’s heinous conduct took place. It is noteworthy that the second incident of rape came to light in 2016.
According to the committee, it will receive the findings and recommendations of both investigations for further presentation to the Board of Directors, which is committed to taking appropriate actions.
“The Board of Directors and the Liberian Advisory Board are in touch with the appropriate Liberian government authorities to provide any information they may request,” it said.
The committee acknowledged the decision made by the More Than Me CEO to temporarily step down from her position to give way to the independent investigations. It said the CEO position would be temporarily filled by the organization’s chief program officer, Alexandra Fallon.
Additionally, the committee has announced the resignation of the organization’s board chair. It says the board cited that it was an inflection point for More Than Me and that he wanted to clear the way for new leadership that will continue to carry its mission forward.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah