Salvation Army asks for sexual misconduct complaints in writing

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Senior officials at the local arm of the Salvation Army have asked customers and employees from its Lyndhurst Road branch to put their complaints in writing as an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and corruption intensifies.

A source close to the investigation yesterday informed the Jamaica Observer that the organisation, known for its philanthropic work to improve the lives of the poor, has convened several meetings as complaints begin to mount.

“A lot of people are telling them things but they have not been putting it in writing. However, they have the clippings from Observer in front of them so they’re asking people to put them (complaints) in writing to help them with the investigation,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.

Several attempts by the Observer to reach Commissioner Devon Haughton for comment have been unsuccessful, following two stories published in the Sunday Observer, recently.

“So now they say we are to write about the things that are [allegedly] happening there, put them together and mail it to 3 Waterloo Road. They say we are to tell them all the things that we’ve seen and don’t like so that they can put it on them investigation. They are having a major meeting two weeks from now… to do with the situation,” the source added.

Two women have come forward in recent weeks accusing the major in charge of the Lyndhurst Road branch of sexual harassment and misconduct.

One woman has claimed that she had to engage in sexual acts with Major Selburn Oates for assistance from the branch, while another woman has accused him of inappropriate touching, tantamount to sexual assault.

Oates has flatly denied the allegations.

One of the women wrote the Salvation Army Caribbean Territorial Headquarters in St Andrew, headed by Commissioner Haughton, but said there was no response to her letter.

The allegations have drawn the ire of residents in surrounding communities who are calling for the removal of Oates.

Last Wednesday, Salvation Army International said a probe was under way.

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