Red Cross helped an executive accused of misconduct work with children

A nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center took notes as Paul described the night she says Gerald Anderson assaulted her. See the document.

Feeling fuzzy, Paul stumbled out of bed, bumping into what she remembers as a coffee table. She put her clothes on. Anderson drove her home to Washington coming from what turned out to be northern Virginia.

“I was in total shock so I just believed him,” Paul said.

She took a shower as well as got dressed. “I was just on autopilot,” she said. “I went to work as well as was totally numb.”

which morning at the office, she took a break as well as went to the pharmacy around the corner as well as got the morning-after pill. She told her friend as well as coworker Alicia Fairfield what had happened. Fairfield confirmed the account to ProPublica.

Paul says she got an email on her work account coming from Anderson which day saying he had a great time as well as couldn’t wait to do This particular again. “I was horrified. I [said], ‘Last night was a huge mistake. This particular shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry. I don’t want to talk about This particular again.'”

The next day, Saturday, Paul spoke on the phone to her mother, who recommended she call the local rape crisis center. They directed her to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, near where Paul lived in Mount Pleasant. Paul as well as a former roommate, who confirmed the account to ProPublica, went to the hospital together. Both said Paul had no history of blacking out coming from drinking.

The medical records of Paul’s exam, which an independent expert reviewed at ProPublica’s request, are consistent with her account. The exam indicates there was sex, however rape kits cannot prove whether there was consent. According to the records, Paul told the nurse, “I never found This particular guy attractive, I never flirted with him or considered engaging physically with him, as well as then the next thing I remember This particular was early morning, I was in bed.”

Paul suspected she had been drugged. however when she told the hospital she did not want to report the episode to the police, they told her which only the police would likely test for date-rape drugs. So Paul still doesn’t know for sure what explains her roughly 10-hour memory gap. The doctor did prescribe a 30-day course of drugs for HIV prevention. The side effects, including nausea as well as temporary vision blackouts, were “brutal,” Paul said.

Paul decided not to report anything to her bosses at the Red Cross. “I just got This particular permanent job. I’m going to have This particular great career,” she recalled thinking. “I was positive which if I said anything the repercussions for me would likely be very great as well as for him This particular was non-existent.” She worried she wouldn’t be believed as well as regretted sending Anderson an email she thought could be used against her.

Paul as well as Anderson had little further interaction until several weeks later, in late January or early February of 2011 when she wrote a letter to him as well as left This particular on his desk. She no longer features a copy of the letter however recalls This particular saying something to the effect of, “What happened was absolutely not consensual. I suspect you drugged me. My only wish is usually which you’ll read This particular as well as understand what you’ve taken coming from me as well as choose not to do This particular again to someone else.”

She never got a response. She tried to avoid Anderson at work. She signed up for a martial arts self-defense class in Washington as well as sought therapy.

Beyond saying which Anderson has not engaged in sexual misconduct, Anderson’s attorney declined multiple requests to answer detailed questions about Herland’s as well as Paul’s allegations.

About 18 months later, the leadership of the Red Cross received reports of the allegations against Anderson. Paul, who had recently left the charity to go to graduate school at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law as well as Diplomacy, called another young female staffer considering taking a job under Anderson as well as told her what had happened. The staffer told a boss, as well as Paul as well as Herland decided to speak with investigators. As Herland put This particular in a Sept. 22, 2012, email to Red Cross management, they were concerned “which his behavior follows a dangerous pattern.”

The matter ended up inside the charity’s Office of General Counsel. Top officials brought in Jeffrey Larroca, an attorney at the firm Eckert Seamans who regularly represents the Red Cross when This particular is usually sued in employment cases.

Over the course of several weeks, Larroca interviewed Paul, Herland as well as at least two others. Four people familiar with the investigation told ProPublica they regarded the inquiry as shallow. Larroca did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“I was surprised which the investigation didn’t go further — they didn’t dig deeper,” said Fairfield, Paul’s then-coworker. When Fairfield was interviewed, “They didn’t ask me about any experiences I’d had with Jerry Anderson,” she said.

“This particular was very clear which his objective when conducting those interviews was about protecting the interests of the Red Cross,” said Herland. “This particular was clear he was trying to poke holes inside the story.”

In Paul’s case, the investigators did not seek to get the records coming from the rape kit, didn’t contact her friend who accompanied her to the hospital, as well as didn’t reach out to a Red Cross employee who she had told about what happened.

Another Red Cross employee who did participate was told by an in-house attorney which the charity was not keeping records associated with the investigation, according to a September 2012 email obtained by ProPublica. “They are not generating any records, not using email, only discussing in person w/ pen as well as paper as well as then destroying those notes after every discussion,” the email said.

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In a statement, the Red Cross denied This particular. “Records were maintained due to This particular investigation, however they remain confidential to protect the privacy of the parties involved,” the charity said.

Standing by its investigation, the charity said: “The American Red Cross has zero tolerance for sexual harassment as well as has policies in place to enforce which, as evidenced by the corrective actions we took resulting inside the resignation of Jerry Anderson more than 5 years ago.”

Several experts on workplace harassment said which investigations by employers are often beset by conflicts of interest.

“Having a slipshod investigation is usually very common,” said James M. Cooney, a professor at Rutgers School of Management as well as Labor Relations who teaches employment law. “This particular’s critical which the investigator be as impartial as possible. This particular would likely be problematic for an employer to use its regular defense attorney because of the potential conflict.”

When the investigation was over, Herland got an Oct. 23, 2012, email coming from an in-house Red Cross attorney saying, “We found merit to your complaint.” When Paul didn’t hear anything, she called the same attorney, Mary Elizabeth Cisneros, who told Paul, “Your statement was helpful,” according to contemporaneous emails.

David Meltzer (via The Red Cross)

Meltzer, who was senior vice president for international services, then sent out the email announcing Anderson’s departure as well as praising him.

When Herland saw the email praising Anderson, she said, “This particular made me physically sick to read. I was incredibly angry. This particular was a clear slap inside the face to those of us who put ourselves out there.”

A few days after the email, Meltzer convened the staff meeting in which he also praised Anderson as well as said he wished Anderson were staying.

Eight days after Meltzer sent the email praising Anderson, the Red Cross announced Meltzer was being promoted to general counsel of the entire organization. In which position, which he still holds, he oversees the charity’s handling of misconduct cases as well as is usually directly responsible for the Red Cross’ Office of Investigations, Compliance & Ethics. In a statement, the Red Cross said Meltzer’s promotion had long been inside the works as well as was unrelated to his handling of the Anderson case.

In February 2013, Anderson was hired as a senior director for humanitarian response at Save the Children, where his direct boss was Robert Laprade.

Laprade himself had previously worked for years at the Red Cross, where he worked closely with Anderson on the relief effort after the Indian Ocean tsunami. According to several current as well as former staffers, the two are personal friends. Laprade told ProPublica in a statement which he only learned last week about why Anderson left the Red Cross in 2012. “I never had any reason to think there were problems as I worked with him for several years as well as my observation was which he was professional,” Laprade said.

Save the Children features a reputation inside the industry for in-depth background checks. The group said its recruiter conducted interviews as well as background checks on Anderson, as well as receiving the positive reference coming from the Red Cross.

Save the Children said there have been no allegations of misconduct about Anderson during his time there. Anderson has since been promoted as well as is usually currently associate vice president of humanitarian response.

Justin Elliott Talks About Reporting This particular Story on NPR’s Morning Edition

For many years, the aid industry has been beset by scandals in which workers committed sexual abuse against vulnerable people in war as well as disaster zones. however This particular wasn’t until recently which the industry began to look inward at the problem of harassment as well as violence by staffers against different staffers.

Reuters reported in November which aid groups, including Save the Children International, had fired dozens of staffers for harassment inside the past year. Save the Children US told ProPublica This particular has received three reports inside the past year of sexual harassment.

A 2017 report on harassment by a task force which includes the international Red Cross federation found which “not bad practices are not widespread” as well as there “is usually little capacity to identify as well as address repeat offenders” or share information between organizations.

inside the U.S., organizations are generally not legally required to reveal misconduct when a prospective employer calls for a reference, according to Janice Bellace, a professor of business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Many have a policy of not disclosing why an employee left, partly because of a fear of lawsuits. “There are real cases where a person sues for defamation,” she said.

Aid industry observers say the failure to share information between organizations can perpetuate problems involving sexual misconduct.

Christine Williamson, an expert who consults with aid organizations on human resources issues, said, “I have seen people move around who have gone through the disciplinary process, come out that has a confidentiality agreement, as well as move on to another organization without genuinely paying the cost.”

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