Mercy Corps accused of mishandling abuse allegations; board member resigns

Robert Newell said the board of the Portland-based Mercy Corps took the allegations ''very seriously,'' and called the investigation challenging.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 4:26 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A long-serving board member of Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian aid group, has resigned following reports that the agency mishandled sexual abuse allegations against one of its founders.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Robert Newell resigned from the board after Mercy Corps was told the newspaper found that agency executives knew co-founder Ellsworth Culver had been accused of sexual abuse in the early 1990s. Culver died in 2005.

In a statement Tuesday Newell, who helped conduct the initial review into Culver, said the board of the Portland, Oregon-based Mercy Corps took the allegations ''very seriously,'' and called the investigation challenging.

Mercy Corps this week removed tributes to Culver from its website and took down photos of him from its headquarters. Mercy Corps CEO said in a statement that it would conduct an independent review of how the agency responded to the allegations.

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