More Than Me is an association meant to help young girls escape a life of sexual exploitation in Liberia. The american NGO has apologised on Saturday for the rape of young girls in a school that she ran. “We are deeply, immensely sorry “, she wrote on her website in response to the revelations of the site investigations american ProPublica in a lengthy investigation published by Time magazine.
The girls were abused by the co-founder of the NGO, Macintosh Johnson, in this school, located in a slum of the capital city of liberia, Monrovia. He died of aids in 2016, and it is to be feared that he had infected his victims, sometimes aged just 10 years. “To all the girls who have been raped by Macintosh Johnson in 2014 and before : we failed with you,” wrote the organization. “We have given Johnson a power that has been harnessed by abusing children. These power dynamics have hampered the ability of the team to immediately report this to our management. Our management would have had to recognize the signals sooner. “
Death before being considered
Denounced by the girls, Johnson had been arrested. His trial in 2015, was suspended because of suspicion of bribes, according to ProPublica. It had to be tried when he died, in 2016. The school, which opened in 2013, was the first of 18 More Than Me in this poor State in West Africa. The NGOS had raised over 8 million dollars of funds (€6.9 million at current prices), of which almost 600 000 from the us government. She also had received the support of the president of Liberia at the time, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, also a Nobel peace Prize.
ProPublica has described the Macintosh Johnson as a “charming hustler” that is linked to Katie Meyler, the founder of the NGO. This gospel had come to provide assistance to Liberia following 14 years of civil war, with the mission of helping girls in the slums.
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