-Says Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi
A Supreme Court lawyer has disagreed with many calls for the government to re-open an investigation into the American charity, More Than Me (MTM) Academy, after a U.S. website, ProPublica, detailed allegations about the charity’s Liberian liaison officer, Macintosh Johnson, who is believed to have sexually assaulted at least 10 girls over several years and on MTM property.
Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi believes that there is no need to re-open any investigation, and the only thing the government could do is to modify its current indictment of which Johnson (deceased) was being tried for rape, prior to his death in 2016, after spending two years in prison awaiting a re-trial of his case.
Johnson almost escaped his rape charge after eight of the 12 jurors ruled in his favor in 2014, arguing that the government did not produce strong evidence to convince the majority members of the panel to bring down a guilty verdict against Johnson.
By then Johnson needed only nine of the jurors to acquit him of the crime but only managed to have gotten eight of the nine, which by law calls for a new trial.
Cllr. Massaquoi argued that though Johnson is dead, the case is not closed, and so the government should include Katie Meyler, the American who founded MTM in 2008 with the stated aim of protecting vulnerable girls from sexual exploitation, in the modified indictment.
“The modified indictment should hold Meyler on charges of aiding and abetting, taking indecent liberties with a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and helping Johnson in the commission of the crime,” Massaquoi maintained.
The Supreme Court lawyer said between 2008 and 2014, Meyler allegedly aided and abetted Johnson “to take or attempt to take immoral, improper or indecent liberties with children who were under the ages of 16 years on the date of the offense.”
According to Massaquoi, Meyler “had previous knowledge of inappropriate behavior toward the students entrusted in her care as a humanitarian and protecting their vulnerability from sexual exploitation.”
Meyler, who was in a position to act, failed to do so, Massaquoi believes.
Besides Meyler, Massaquoi said the entire board of the MTM should be charged with criminal conspiracy and facilitation, because they also failed to act when the crime was allegedly committed by Johnson.
“This is what the government can do and not to say we should re-open the investigation into a matter that is not closed but was waiting for a re-trial when Johnson died,” Massaquoi noted. “So, the only thing now is to resume the case and include Meyler and her board of directors.”
Recently in a statement, the U.S. charity said its leadership should have recognized warning signs that Johnson was abusing the children and expressed a strong apology to the victims. It also said that when the charity learned of Johnson’s crimes in 2014, the group immediately reported them to the Liberian government and took action to prevent a recurrence.
In a letter on its website, MTM said it would cooperate fully with the Liberian investigation, and it retained U.S. law firm, McLane Middleton, to conduct an external audit of the organization.
The MTM letter further said that Meyler has taken a leave of absence and its board chairman has resigned.