Save the Children boss facing charges of harassment from female staff
A CHARITY chief executive is set to face calls to resign over claims that female staff were not protected from sex pest bosses.
Save the Children (STC) will be accused of “comprehensive failures” in a report by the Charity Commission tomorrow.
The damning charges follow a twoyear investigation sparked by allegations of sexual harassment against two former bosses of the organisation.
Justin Forsyth, who had been its chief executive, was forced to quit a senior post with Unicef when the claims emerged in 2018. His former deputy, Brendan Cox, the widower of British Labour MP Jo Cox, also had to stand down from a charity launched in her name.
The scandal claimed a third scalp when the charity’s chairman, Sir Alan Parker, quit. Insiders say the watchdog’s report is likely to lead to calls for a fourth resignation – that of Forsyth’s successor, Kevin Watkins. He was a trustee of the charity during the time it allegedly covered up misconduct.
Female employees claimed in 2018 that Watkins was the fourth member of the “cosy club of men” responsible for a “culture of complicity that led to the mistreatment of women”.
Forsyth, 54, was accused of sending a barrage of “unsuitable” text messages to female staff at STC. Cox, 44, faced similar claims and was accused of sexually assaulting a senior female government official in the US.
They joined STC after working in Downing Street for Gordon Brown. Both left the charity in 2015, Cox after harassment allegations. Forsyth denied quitting for similar reasons.
However, both had been accused of misconduct – allegations that were swept under the carpet. Forsyth landed the plum post at Unicef, which was not told about the complaints against him.
But he came under pressure when Cox was forced to resign from the Jo Cox Foundation. It emerged there had been three complaints against Forsyth from female STC staff between 2011 and 2015, and he resigned from his UN job.
The commission’s investigation focused on the charity’s failure to support women staff and claims that it protected Forsyth and Cox.
Watkins has always denied any wrongdoing. Forsyth admitted to “personal mistakes” over sending three young women a large number of over-familiar text messages.