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As Probe Advances In MTM Saga, Govt. Team Outlines Measures

By Decontee M. Wesseh

Monrovia, Oct. 21 (LINA) – In the wake of ongoing investigation into the alleged scandal at the More Than Me (MTM) Academy, the inter-ministerial team set up by the government has cautioned Katie Meylers, founder of MTM, against making contacts with the affected girls, MTM-sponsored students, faculty and staffs of the academy.

The committee also wants Meylers to be questioned about creating “a very toxic workplace” environment contrary to the laws and statutes of the nation by involving in an unreported relationship with a subordinate.

While Meylers has temporarily stepped down as CEO and Founder of the MTM, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Williametta Saydee-Tarr, noted Friday at a Ministry of Information press conference that she does not get paid as she steps aside and remains disengaged from the day-to-day operation of the academy.

The ministerial committee that is in charge of the MTM case are the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Justice; Health; Youth and Sports; Labor and Finance and Development Planning, which will ensure that full justice be served the affected girls.

According to Minister Saydee-Tarr, MTM should make a full declaration of assets and its financial transaction be reviewed with the intent to establish the salary and benefits received by the alleged perpetrators of the “heinous acts” so as to confirm or dismiss any appearance of a conflict of interest.

She encouraged civil society organizations and other women groups’ involvement to continue advocating and be ready for the real part of human engagement and the real norms of advocacy to be adhered to.

“Let’s not be pitted against each other because we are in this together in seeking justice for the girls,” Minister Saydee-Tarr said.

The Gender Ministry’s paramount concern is the well-being of the girls as plans are underway to see what can be done to ensure these girls receive the needed care, the Gender Minister pointed out.

However, Minister Saydee-Tarr debunked the myth mostly being paraded in the West that when Meyler established the MTM Foundation, nobody “cared” about the poor and disadvantaged Liberian girls, noting that “this information is untrue and misleading.”

She emphasized that everybody is included in the fight to eradicate the MTM scourge from the society, and resist the culture of rape, adding that “men, you have children, your honorable mothers, precious daughters, beloved sisters, among others and we should not make it just a woman thing or a female journalist’s thing.”

On October 11, 2018, Pro-Publica and the Times Magazine in their publications revealed series of rape and sexual abuse cases at the More Than Me Academy by the institution’s Co-Founder, Macintosh Johnson.

The articles detailed how Johnson raped several of the girls on the grounds of the MTM Academy located on Ashum Street in central Monrovia.

‘More Than Me’ is an American charity that was established in Liberia by Katie Meyler to cater to girls’ education who were used as breadwinners for their families who allowed them to sell petit goods on the principals streets of Monrovia.

LINA DMW/PTK