31 January 2013

Liberia: JASGBV Demands Speedy Probe in Red Cross Staff Sexual Harassment

The Journalists Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (JASGBV) has called on the Ministry of Justice, through the Liberia National Police's Women and Children Protection Section, to speedily investigate the alleged sexual harassment case involving Mr. S. Kokpar Wohwoh of the Liberia National Red Cross Society and a woman believed to be in her 30s of the same institution.

The alleged sexual harassment case has been before the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police for investigation since November 2012, but the police is yet to release the outcome of the investigation.

JASGBV said any attempt by the Liberia National Police to sweep under the carpet the alleged sexual harassment case will undermine President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's fight against sexual gender based violence against women and children in Liberia.

According to a written communication by the victim to the accused, (Mr. Wohwoh) who happens to be her immediate boss, July 2, 2012, was the victim's first day in office at LNRCS. When she entered, her boss, Wohwoh, asked her for a handshake at which time he placed his second finger in the middle of her palm, something that is considered unprofessional.

According to same communication, from July 3-6, and 2012, September 3 & 4, 2012, Mr. Wohwoh intentionally delayed the lady in his office up until 7:30 -8:30 pm to complete office task which was not urgent.

The complaint stated that on many of the occasions, he has been delaying this lady in office and attempting to force her by the way of kiss or sex in office.

The complaint furthered that on July 6, 2012 they traveled to Cape Mount and Bomi Counties for field mission as health delegates. While in Tubmanburg on July 6, 2012 at the Red Cross Guest House, where the delegates spent a night, Wohwoh allegedly invited her to his room at 8:42 pm saying that he wanted both of them to complete a document, a call she reportedly refused.

On July 12, 2012, while on another project mission in Wohwoh, again, reportedly left his room and entered the lady's room, forcing to kiss and attempting to have sex with her.

During the CBHFA workshop in Buchanna, Grand Bassa County, from July 23-29, he called the lady to meet him at a local hotel, but she refused to go with him for a drink.

However, the case is still pending at before the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police, JASGBV said it is taking too long and the situation might just be swept under the carpet.

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