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Oxfam's deputy chief executive resigns in Haiti scandal

Published:Monday | February 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM
This is a November 30, 2017 file photo of Britain's International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt. Oxfam’s deputy chief executive yesterday resigned amid the scandal involving sex abuse in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Penny Lawrence says she’s ashamed of what happened on her watch. Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is demanding that Oxfam show moral accountability and provide full disclosure about the case.


Oxfam's deputy chief executive resigned yesterday, 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 programme director at the time, said she was "ashamed that this happened on my watch".

Still, it is unclear whether the resignation will quell the scandal, which first emerged when the Times of London reported last week that seven former Oxfam staff members who worked in Haiti faced 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.

Lawrence yesterday said that the allegations of sexual misconduct were first raised about some Oxfam staff in an earlier mission in Chad.

"It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behaviour of both the country director and members of his team in Chad - were raised before he moved to Haiti," she said in a statement.

Oxfam has apologised unreservedly for the incidents in Haiti, but has denied that it attempted to cover up the scandal.