Oxfam deputy chief resigns over handling of sex claims

Written by Lauren Weymouth

Oxfam’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, has resigned over the Haiti sex scandal, claiming she takes full responsibility for the handling of the events.

In a statement released yesterday, Lawrence said she feels “ashamed” that it happened during her time in the role as deputy chief, and takes “full responsibility”.

"I am deeply sad to announce that I have resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam GB,” Lawrence said.

"Over the last few days we have become aware that concerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon. 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.

"As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility.

"I am desperately sorry for the harm and distress that this has caused to Oxfam's supporters, the wider development sector and most of all the vulnerable people who trusted us.

"It has been such a privilege to work for such an amazing organisation that has done and needs to continue to do such good in the world."

Commenting on her resignation, Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring said he “deeply respects” Lawrence’s decision to accept personal responsibility.

“Like us, she is appalled at what happened and is determined to do what is best for Oxfam and the people we exist to help.

"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks for the years of dedicated service that Penny has given to Oxfam and the fight against poverty around the world."

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