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More Than Me Founder and CEO Katie Meyler Resigns

She had been on a leave of absence for six months after ProPublica investigated rape at her charity in Liberia.

Katie Meyler speaks during an event centered on girls’ education in Washington in October 2016. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour)

Katie Meyler, the CEO and founder of More Than Me, has resigned six months after a ProPublica investigation revealed her charity missed opportunities to prevent the rapes of girls in its care by a senior staff member, Macintosh Johnson, with whom Meyler once had an intimate relationship.

Meyler, who founded the charity in 2009 to save vulnerable girls from sexual exploitation, had been on a leave of absence pending the results of three separate inquiries by the charity and the Liberian government into ProPublica’s report, which outlined that Meyler and charity officials gave Johnson significant power over vulnerable students, were not transparent about the extent of his abuse and failed to make sure that all of his potential victims were tested after it came to light that he had AIDS when he died.

The findings of these inquiries have yet to be made public, but Meyler announced her departure Friday evening on Facebook:

“Over the past few months, false allegations have been circulating around the horrific mistreatment of girls in our program. Some of the false allegations suggest I knew or should have known what was happening to these girls. That’s simply not true,” Meyler wrote.

“Here’s the truth: I first learned about these crimes in June 2014 and immediately ensured the perpetrator was reported to the Liberian authorities; he was in jail four days after I learned of his abuse. I cooperated fully with the police investigation and did everything I could to protect our students.

“However, I recognize that my public role as CEO has become a distraction from the critical mission and incredible and proven work of our team which is why I recently made the difficult decision to resign.”

After the publication of ProPublica’s story and documentary film, More Than Me for the first time apologized, admitting in a statement that it had failed girls in its care and acknowledging, “Our leadership should have recognized the signs earlier.” The charity said it would provide schoolwide HIV testing for students at its academy in Monrovia, the Liberian capital.

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The chairman of the U.S.-based board of directors, Skip Borghese, resigned, along with a second U.S. board member and a member of the charity’s Liberian advisory board. Three separate inquiries were announced: One by a committee of U.S. board members, which retained a law firm to conduct an “in-depth, external audit”; one by a panel convened by the charity’s Liberian advisory board; and one announced by the Liberian government, which named multiple agencies that would take part in its probe.

In an interview this month, Liberian Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Alice Johnson-Howard said the multi-agency report was still in progress.

A More Than Me spokesperson said on Friday that there would be more information about the charity’s reports next week and confirmed Meyler’s resignation.

This is the full text of Meyler’s Facebook statement:

In 2009, I founded More Than Me with a single goal: help the young women and girls of Liberia. Since then, we’ve founded a Girls Academy, partnered with public schools across the country, and educated thousands of students. Our focus has always been on helping these girls and putting them first.

Over the past few months, false allegations have been circulating around the horrific mistreatment of girls in our program. Some of the false allegations suggest I knew or should have known what was happening to these girls. That’s simply not true.

Here’s the truth: I first learned about these crimes in June 2014 and immediately ensured the perpetrator was reported to the Liberian authorities; he was in jail four days after I learned of his abuse. I cooperated fully with the police investigation and did everything I could to protect our students.

However, I recognize that my public role as CEO has become a distraction from the critical mission and incredible and proven work of our team which is why I recently made the difficult decision to resign.

More Than Me has always been an organization focused on doing what’s best for young women and girls in Liberia. While my role as CEO has concluded, I urge every More Than Me supporter to redouble their efforts to help these vulnerable girls. They need our support.

More Than Me Girls: I started this organization because of my deep and profound belief in you. Please know, nothing can or ever will change that. No one can stop you. You make darkness shutter. Rise, powerful, courageous girls, rise! The world is waiting for you!

With Love Always,

Katie

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