Published:  02:35 PM, 13 February 2018 Last Update: 03:40 PM, 13 February 2018

Oxfam's deputy chief executive resigns in Haiti scandal

Oxfam's deputy chief executive resigns in Haiti scandal

Oxfam's deputy chief executive resignedMonday, saying she took "full responsibility" for failing to act immediately in the sexual misconduct scandal involving the charity's workers in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

Penny Lawrence, Oxfam program director at the time, said she was "ashamed that this happened on my watch."

At an emergency meetingMondaywith British government officials, Oxfam's leaders "also made a full and unqualified apology" and spoke of a "deep sense of disgrace and shame," said British Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring and trustee chairwoman Caroline Thomson were at the meeting. Mordaunt had threatened to pull public funding from Oxfam unless the charity revealed everything it knows about theHaitiallegations.

Still, it's unclear whether the resignation and the apology will quell the scandal, which first emerged when the Times of London reported last week that seven former Oxfam staff members who worked inHaitifaced misconduct allegations that included using prostitutes and downloading pornography.

Oxfam says it investigated the allegations in 2011 and then fired four people and let three others resign after uncovering sexual misconduct, bullying, intimidation and failure to protect staff.

LawrencesaidMondaythat the allegations of sexual misconduct were first raised about some Oxfam staff in an earlier mission inChad.

"It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behavior of both the country director and members of his team inChad- were raised before he moved toHaiti," she said.

Mordaunt said the charity had agreed to provide full details about the perpetrators to their home countries so they can face possible prosecution.

"I told Oxfam they must now demonstrate the moral leadership necessary to address this scandal, rebuild the trust of the British public, their staff and the people they aim to help," she said, describing the sexual abuses as "utterly despicable."

Mordaunt said she had written to allU.K.charities that work overseas to demand they do more to protect vulnerable people from abuse.

EarlierMonday, the European Commission demanded that Oxfam offer maximum transparency in responding to the allegations aboutHaiti.

"We are ready to review and, if needed, cease funding to any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards," said European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.


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