“GOL to Respond to MTM Sex Scandal,”
-Says Deputy Info Minister Fahngon
The Deputy Minister of information for Public Affairs, at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Hon. Eugene Fahngon has said the Government of Liberia is reviewing the report about the alleged sexual exploitation and rape at the ‘More Than Me’ (MTM) American Charity Academy,
According to Hon. Fahngon who is also deputy spokesman of government, the Liberian government will shortly release an official statement on the matter, adding that as it stands right now, the government does not have an official position on the matter.“We are currently looking into it after which we will inform the Liberian people about our official position,” Fahngon told the Liberia News Agency in an exclusive interview at his office on Monday.
Fahngon in the interview told LINA that the government is currently holding talks with the Ministries of Gender, Justice and other relevant agencies tied to the matter, to know where she stands as it relates to the issue.
He stressed that though there are annotations, allegations and opinions in the air concerning this saga, the government needs to do its own in-house investigation to find out where it officially stands on the matter.
On October 11, 2018, ProPublica and the Times Magazine in their publications uncovereda 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 premises of the More Than Me Academy located on Ashum Street in central Monrovia.
Johnson was arrested on June 16, 2014 after Michelle Spada, Program Director of MTM, reported the alleged incidents of rapes to the Police.
Spada learned about the abuse when Iris Martor, the school nurse of MTM, told her five months after keeping quiet when she (Martor) first learned that Johnson was abusing the girls.
Martor told ProPublica that she was scared of her safety and also scared of losing her job as she did not know how Katie Meyler, MTM CEO and Founder was going to handle the situation if she had told her, given that Katie and Johnson were allegedly in a relationship.
According to the ProPublica report, Johnson had raped 30 girls before his arrest in 2014.
Johnson reportedly died in prison of AIDS in 2014; something which prompted the management of the institution to conduct HIV tests on Johnson’s victims.
Alexandra Fallon who is the current Chief Executive Officer of the American Charity confirmed to the Liberia News Agency Friday that 10 of the students were confirmed of contracting the virus after being reportedly raped by Johnson.
MTM has since written an open apology on its official website, in which it claimed that it failed the girls by giving Johnson the power that he exploited by abusing the children and staffs at the institution.
‘More Than Me’ is an American charity that was established in Liberia by Katie Meyler to cater to girls who were used as breadwinners for their families who allowed them to sell petit goods on the principal streets of Monrovia by giving them education.
According to the founder of MTM, these children were exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation.
MTM has over the years raised more than US$ 8 million for charity, with almost US$600,000 of the amount coming from the United States Government.