Red Cross forced to fire senior official over rape, harassment allegations, then finds him a new job

Red Cross forced to fire senior official over rape, harassment allegations, then finds him a new job

The Red Cross, long under fire for numerous scandals—the missing millions of dollars intended for Ebola aid, total lack of transparency about where donations go, and deeply flawed relief efforts—has a very big new one on their hands thanks to the investigators at ProPublica.

In 2012 and 2013, serious allegations of sexual harassment and rape were made against senior officer Gerald Anderson, who then left the organization. But thanks to glowing recommendations, he was hired by global charity Save the Children, which was never informed of the allegations against him, allegations which were given, at best, a cursory consideration by the Red Cross. One was Camille Herland, a young woman who worked as an assistant to Anderson who pressured her for a romantic relationship with texts and emails. Her complaint was found to have merit, a Red Cross attorney admitted to her. The other allegation is even more disturbing.

The second woman, Eliza Paul, a program assistant who met him at an after-work happy hour, lodged even more serious allegations against Anderson. She told Red Cross officials she had woken up naked in his bed without knowing how she had gotten there and had gone to the hospital for a rape kit exam. […]

The Red Cross launched an internal investigation of the women’s allegations in 2012, but several staffers interviewed told ProPublica that officials seemed more concerned with protecting the institution than getting to the truth. Investigators did not interview multiple people who had been referred as witnesses. They asked few follow-up questions. They did not seek copies of Paul’s medical exam.

Anderson’s accusers were dismayed when a top Red Cross official praised Anderson in an October 2012 email announcing his departure. David Meltzer, then senior vice president for international services, wrote that he regretted to announce Anderson had “decided to make a change.” Meltzer said he was “grateful” to Anderson for his “leadership,” lauded him for “two decades of dedication and hard work in furthering the international mission of ARC,” and wished him well in his “future endeavors.” Meltzer and Anderson are personal friends, according to five people.

A few days later, at a staff meeting, Meltzer, who is now the Red Cross’ general counsel, went further. He said he was upset Anderson was leaving and that if it were up to him, Anderson would continue working at the Red Cross, according to three attendees. “It was flabbergasting. If you are a woman sitting in this room, and you have ever been harassed by Jerry Anderson, you’ve just heard from the VP that he does not believe you or support you,” said Amy Gaver, then an official at the Red Cross, who attended the meeting and knew about the allegations.