by WorldTribune Staff, February 11, 2018
British-based Oxfam said it “got it wrong” when the charitable organization failed to publicly disclose misconduct at so-called “Caligula” style sex parties its employees engaged in while administering earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010.
“With hindsight, I would much prefer that we had talked about sexual misconduct,” Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring told BBC Radio on Feb. 9.
“But I don’t think it was in anyone’s best interest to be describing the details of the behavior in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it when what we wanted to do was get on and deliver an aid program.”
Three men have resigned from Oxfam and four others were fired for their alleged misconduct.
UK newspaper The Times, citing an internal report circulated in 2011, said it was unable to rule out that under-age girls had been solicited for the parties. Oxfam said those allegations remain unproven.
The Charity Commission noted that Oxfam’s report on the parties stated there had been no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries and did not mention potential sexual crimes involving minors.
“Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time,” the Charity Commission said in a statement.
When the reports surfaced, Oxfam referred to the alleged behavior as “serious misconduct.” Goldring denies there has been a “cover-up.”
The Times report also noted that Oxfam did not tell other aid agencies about the allegations against staff involved in the Haiti investigation. Some of those involved were given references by former employees and went on to work for other aid agencies.
Oxfam said in a statement: “With up to 10,000 NGOs working in Haiti alone in 2011, not to mention hundreds of thousands of aid workers in countries around the world, it was unfortunately not possible for Oxfam to ensure that those found guilty of sexual misconduct were not re-employed in the sector. Oxfam has not and would not provide a positive reference for any of those that were dismissed or resigned as a result of the case.”
The Department for International Development said it is reviewing the organization’s funding. The department gave Oxfam more than $44 million last year.