Mercy Corps CEO Resigns Amid Turmoil Over Abuse Allegations


The Mercy Corps CEO resigned Thursday, two days after an Oregonian/OregonLive investigation found that executives at the global humanitarian aid group allowed co-founder Ellsworth Culver to remain in a top role after his daughter accused him of serial sexual abuse.


The 65-year-old Neal Keny-Guyer had led Mercy Corps since 1994. His abrupt departure is a stunning development for the $471-million-a-year charity and the result of pressure from Mercy Corps employees who are furious over the organization's handling of Tania Culver Humphrey's sexual abuse allegations in the 1990s and again last year, The Oregonian reported .


"My failure to intervene and change the course of how the organization responded to the Humphrey's hotline enquiries in late 2018 has shaken me to my core," Keny-Guyer wrote in his resignation letter. "If I am going to morally own this — and I believe this in my soul — then I need to take the ultimate action."

The resignation came 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.


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Mercy Corps board co-chair Gisel Kordestani said Thursday that Barnes Ellis, senior legal counsel for the organization, has also resigned. Long-serving board member Robert Newell resigned earlier this week. Kordestani said the board "today heard global Mercy Corps employees' demands for accountability and responsibility."


The nonprofit employs 5,500 people and oversees operations in more than 40 countries from disaster relief to food and safe drinking water programs.


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