Share this article Share In another development, it emerged yesterday that Mr Forsyth was also the subject of a complaint by a female employee. It related to an 'inappropriate comment' he allegedly made. The complaint was investigated and said to have been resolved 'by consensus'. Insiders insist Mr Forsyth's subsequent departure from the charity had nothing to do with the complaint against him, nor the handling of the Cox scandal.
Mr Forsyth was then appointed deputy executive director of Unicef in New York, a post he still holds. A Save The Children source said: But they were too big for their boots. Mr Cox said in a statement to this newspaper: I take responsibility for what I have done. I apologise unreservedly for my past behaviour and am committed to holding myself to much higher standards of personal conduct in the future. He says he is determined to end his 'deeply inappropriate' behaviour and strive harder to keep the vow he made after his wife's murder to 'love and protect our children and fight the hatred that killed Jo'.
But Mr Cox said the furore over his conduct made his charity work more difficult and he would therefore give up public life — for now at least.
Brendan and Jo met while working for Oxfam, where Mr Forsyth had been their boss. The Coxes married in Mr Forsyth became Save The Children's chief executive and Mr Cox went with him as director of policy, including responsibility for the 'empowerment of women. Everyone knew it was going on, but he was best friends with the boss. He got her outside, pushed her against a wall and tried to force himself on her. She was outraged and made a complaint.
Brendan and Jo outside 10 Downing Street Charity chiefs suspended Mr Cox, banned him from the office and set up a disciplinary panel. Mr Forsyth did not sit on the panel because of their close friendship. But the investigation was effectively scuppered when Mr Cox refused to attend a disciplinary hearing and suddenly resigned.
The charity was told they could not find him guilty of misconduct without hearing his side of the story. The ploy also meant Save The Children could not tell Harvard he had been found guilty of misconduct when he attended a course there four weeks later.
This newspaper revealed last week how a woman, whose identity we withheld, complained to US police, accusing Mr Cox of sexual assault while there. By her account, he cornered her in a bar, plied her with drink, 'grabbed her by the hips, pulled her hair, forced his thumb into her mouth in a sexual way' and later sent her obscene text messages.
Police filed her complaint as 'assault and battery', but she told them not to take further action because she 'feared repercussions'. Mr Cox last week called the allegations 'spurious'. Yesterday he said he did not 'recognise or accept' her claims.
Following the murder of his wife, there were reports that Mr Cox was lined up to succeed her Labour MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire, but he did not do so. The Mail on Sunday has been told Labour officials advised against it because of rumours about his behaviour. Mr Forsyth's successor as Save The Children chief executive, Kevin Watkins, last night announced new measures to stop staff being abused by colleagues in the wake of the allegations about Mr Cox. He pledged to take charge of a major shake-up of the charity's complaints procedure and vowed a 'zero tolerance of disrespectful behaviour'.
Mr Watkins could face tough questions over the Cox scandal — as well as other allegations of misconduct by aid workers — when he is quizzed by MPs this week. Mr Forsyth declined to comment last night. Charlotte Wace Was I inappropriate? I thought I was flirtatious. But I overstepped the line: His manner is as crumpled as his casual black T-shirt and jeans; his eyes heavy and rimmed with red. This is a man in turmoil, struggling to confront some very difficult personal truths. Today, Brendan sits in the houseboat on the River Thames in London that he shares with his two young children, and holds his head in his hands.
He is plagued, he admits, with a sense of crushing guilt. Guilt that his sexually inappropriate, often drunken behaviour led to damning complaints about him by two women, which is why, he says, he is taking part in this extraordinary and often tearful interview. But there is clearly shame, too, that this behaviour has now forced him to step away from the work he has been carrying out in memory of his wife, the Labour MP Jo Cox.
It is a remarkable fall from grace. Yet while Brendan is keen to apologise for any offence caused to women by his behaviour, he remains reluctant to face head-on the disturbing details of the sex abuse claims he now faces. Mr Cox was, until now, a grieving widower, but now finds himself labelled a sexual predator who is accused of trying to take advantage of other women during his marriage Brendan was, until now, a grieving widower who, in the aftermath of his wife's shocking murder just before the Brexit vote, had been dedicating himself to campaigning on her behalf.
Now, he finds himself labelled a sexual predator who is accused of trying to take advantage of other women during his marriage. There will be people who will put the worst possible spin on this and assume it was malicious or a deliberate act. But that doesn't necessarily mean I'm innately a bad person or that it's not possible to learn from those mistakes. I feel that very profoundly. They adorn every wall, every surface.
There are photographs of a smiling Jo with their children; a photograph of the couple on The Cuillin mountain range in Skye where Jo realised she was pregnant with their eldest son; and a poignant painting of Jo and the kids on the deck of the boat, which, Brendan says, captures her gait perfectly.
Yet this cosy domesticity stands in stark contrast to the damning allegations about his behaviour during their marriage. There were even rumours, which he does not deny, that he slept with other workers at the charity.
Did Jo know about any of it? I'm sure people might advise me to talk about her but it'd be a PR tool and that doesn't feel right' 'We had difficult times, we had amazing times, but I'm not going to recount conversations I had with her because she's not here. I'm sure people might advise me to talk about her but it'd be a PR tool and that doesn't feel right.
And yet Brendan maintains even now that the allegations against him are a 'massive exaggeration' of his actual behaviour. He is today refusing to discuss the details of any incident. Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed that a woman complained to police in the US over an alleged sexual assault at Harvard University in October , where Mr Cox was attending a course. Her claims — categorically denied by Brendan — include that he plied her with alcohol, tried to force himself on her, and inserted a thumb in her mouth following a late-night dinner.
Brendan says he is keen not to disclose confidential details of a separate incident in July involving a colleague at Save the Children.
But what he is prepared to concede is that both women saw his behaviour very differently than he did. Hearing that he was 'known' as a sex pest and that women were reluctant to be on duty alone with him at the charity, appears to come as a shock. Brendan looks visibly uncomfortable and turns away, rubbing his face with his hands.
The sense that I was physically imposing… I don't think I had a good account of that, and how that made people feel in some situations. At the root [of the rumours] was a sense, which is fair, that I could overstep the line. It may seem a weak defence given the seriousness of the allegations, but Brendan insists he saw his behaviour as playful rather than predatory.
Certainly, I had too much to drink at times. I probably behaved in a way I thought was sort of jokey, or flirtatious. I often wasn't being serious, but that was perceived differently by others.
Hearing that he was 'known' as a sex pest and that women were reluctant to be on duty alone with him at the charity, appears to come as a shock to Mr Cox pictured during a previous interview with the BBC 'There was never any malice; any intention to upset or offend people.
But the bigger picture is that you do have to face up to how you make people feel, not just what your intention was. I didn't reflect on it — that's not a defence, it's a failing. It's not good enough. With the MeToo movement, I think people, including me, are reflecting not just on their behaviour but the power imbalance in some encounters.
It's a painful thing, if you're one of those people, but ultimately it's a healthy thing to be going through. The allegations are so serious they may end Brendan's public life. I didn't want to be a burden or a distraction to any of that.
It is an enormous source of regret to Brendan that she is not here to support him now. When he eventually speaks, his voice is choked, his eyes wet with tears. It's what I'm trying to do. I want to make sure that in the future I hold myself to a much higher standard, and that nothing like this can ever be said of me again. It's what I'm trying to do' pictured with his sons on the River Thames Dfid 'knew about Oxfam predator 12 years ago but did nothing': Whistleblower raised concerns over disgraced chief but was told: Having raised her concerns over the conduct of Roland van Hauwermeiren — who left Oxfam after being accused of using prostitutes — the whistleblower says Dfid responded: When she discovered he had later become Oxfam's Country Director in Chad in , she reported allegations about his past misconduct, but says her concerns fell on deaf ears.
Roland van Hauwermeiren pictured left Oxfam after being accused of using prostitutes Mr van Hauwermeiren later went on to work for Oxfam in Haiti, where he was forced out after being accused of sleeping with prostitutes, a claim he denies.
Mr van Hauwermeiren, country director for health charity Merlin between and in Liberia, reportedly used the charity's drivers to ferry him to clubs to meet prostitutes and take them to the villa rented for him using donated funds.
He has admitted dancing with prostitutes in Liberia but denies he had sex with them. Posting in a Facebook group used by concerned aid workers, the whistleblower wrote: Her response, was that people can change.