A man identified as Exodus Williams of Caldwell has been arrested after an alleged sexual assault at the Monrovia Football Academy.
Williams, according to MFA was on Monday, May 13, indicted by a Grand Jury of Margibi County on charges of sexual assault against a minor at the Academy and is currently being held at Margibi County’s central prison, pending trial.
According to MFA, the incident was brought to its attention on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at approximately 8:00 a.m. GMT, when one of academy’s male student-athletes complained of stomach pain.
“Because the student had an urgent tone in his voice, we sent him to a clinic in Monrovia along with our Social Welfare Officer. We asked the student’s parents to meet him there,” the Academy said in a statement.
On Thursday, May 9, 2019 at approximately 9:00 p.m., the student’s mother called the Academy to lodge a formal complaint of sexual assault by a male assistant football coach against her son. The complaint alleges the assistant coach entered the student’s dorm room in the middle of the night, covered his mouth to prevent waking his roommates, and proceeded to assault him.
“Upon receiving the formal complaint, our senior staff activated the procedures for sexual assault cases as outlined in our internal policies,” the Academy noted.
The allegations, the MFA said, were relayed to local law enforcement, who took the accused into custody at approximately 6:00 a.m. GMT on Friday, May 10. The accused was suspended with immediate effect.
Both the student-athlete and the accused were tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Following its procedures, the Academy conducted an extensive internal review of the complaint on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11, and confirmed that there were no additional victims.
Meanwhile, health workers, authorities, and the MFA community are tending to the needs of the student and his family.
The Academy said it takes seriously its commitment to student safety and wellbeing and has developed policies and procedures to ensure its students’ safety through its Child Protection Policy, Campus Rules & Regulations, and annual staff training on child protection and sexual harassment.
“This alleged behavior is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. We must hold ourselves to the highest standards to protect the safety and wellbeing of our students. We can do nothing less.
The Academy says it remains resolute in its commitment to empower Liberia’s future leaders. “We will do everything we can to make our campus safe for all students.”
The Academy has formally informed both its Board of Directors and its parents; and also contacted Minister Piso Saydee-Tarr of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection about the incident.
MFA, a residential academy serving underprivileged boys and girls from across the country, was founded in 2015 to empower Liberia’s future leaders through quality education and sport. The Academy currently has 92 student-athletes (56 boys, 36 girls) in grades 3-7. The student-athletes are ages 6-15 and represent nine of Liberia’s 15 counties.