18 October 2018

Liberia: Kobazzie Wants Govt Prosecute Katie Meyler, Founder of 'More Than Me'

Afropop superstar Kobazzie has called on the government to prosecute Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me Foundation, for reportedly covering up sexual abuse at the organization's school on Ashmun Street, Monrovia.

The singer, in a press statement, said Katie Meyler needs to be prosecuted for willfully neglecting her responsibility to put into place mechanisms that would have prevented sexual abuse at MTM Academy.

"By covering up the rape case," he said, "Meyler, whose charity built its foundation and fundraising appeal on protecting girls who have been sexually exploited, instead created an environment where the very abuse they claimed to be protecting the girls from became widespread."

Kobazzie noted that the charity founder is equally guilty as the perpetrator of the crime, Macintosh Johnson, since she went to great lengths, according to the ProPublica and Time Magazine story, to hide the rape issue at the school.

"Because of this, she is equally guilty as Mr. Johnson. Therefore, I'm calling on the ministries of Justice and Gender, Children and Social Protection to seek justice for the girls whose future have been ruined by Meyler's neglectful action," Kobazzie said.

MTM, a US charity, was founded in 2009 by Katie Meyler to help get girls from the street to school. However, a recently released investigative report by ProPublica and Time Magazine revealed that the girls were raped from the onset by Macintosh Johnson, the charity's co-founder and an ex-combatant with whom Meyler was having a sexual relationship.

According to the report, MTN founder Katie Meyler and the board went to great lengths to cover up the scandal as well as working with government officials to influence the trial of the accused rapist, her boyfriend.

Kobazzie added the fact that Meyler was aware of the situation and tried to cover it up, makes her a party to the crime.

"Ms. Meyler is an educated woman who knows that providing girl children access to education is not limited to getting them in school but creating a safe environment void of sexual abuse as well.

"Despite knowing this, Meyler failed those innocent girls who trusted her with their lives and saw her as a role model by not instituting policies to protect them from sexual predators," he said.

The singer also added, the government's handling of the MTM case will determine whether the Government of Liberia remains committed to ending all forms of abuse against children by prosecuting all those involved directly or indirectly.

"The government needs to prosecute Meyler for covering up the action of Mr. Johnson, which upended the lives of the girls and clouded their future with pain. They might be poor but they do not deserve what they went through."

Meanwhile, Kobazzie also wants the government to revoke her license to operate a charity organization in the country.

"This will serve as a precedent to ensure that schools do not become playgrounds for predators and do not reward those who enable predators," Kobazzie added.

MTM on its website wrote: "We are deeply saddened and regret that we were underprepared for the magnitude of the challenges we would face when we opened More Than Me Academy in 2013.

"We want to apologize to the brave girls who came forward, as well as those who potentially may not have, for the pain they have experienced from Johnson's heinous actions.

"We stand by the girls and young women affected and we are here for them. We continue to support them with scholarships to school, healthcare, counseling, and monthly stipends to pursue their dreams."

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