Together We Own It (TWOI) released the following statement in April 3, 2023:
On March 14, 2023 the Board of Directors was made aware by the Executive Director that a complaint had been made against her to Child Protective Services and that an investigation occurred and was closed. At this time, the Executive Director had already made the decision to take a personal sabbatical. The Board of Directors immediately initiated an internal review. On March 21st, the Governance committee met with the Executive Director to review the circumstances behind the allegation and the timeline of what had occurred during the investigation.
Our findings indicated that the Executive Director was made aware of a complaint made to Child Protective Services on January 11th. On January 25th, the Executive Director learned that Child Protective Services was conducting a Risk of Harm Assessment, in response to the complaint. On February 6th, Child Protective Services spoke with our Executive Director and made her aware that the allegation was in regard to an inappropriate conversation on Instagram. Additionally on February 6th, Child Protective Services indicated to our Executive Director that the Child Protective Services case was going to be closed with a finding of “low risk”. On February 16th, two detectives came to Together We Own It and spoke with the Executive Director. They indicated that there had been a criminal investigation conducted and that the case was being closed; no further information was provided.
It was not until March 27th, when a local blogger wrote an article about the situation and publicly shared the case files from the police report, that the Executive Director, or anyone at Together We Own It, knew exactly what the allegations were. The Executive Director denies the allegations set forth in the individual’s statement.
The individual who made the allegations was a volunteer at Together We Own It from July 2020 through July 2021. The Executive Director acknowledges that a friendship grew out of the mentorship and that contact with this individual continued beyond the end of the volunteer responsibilities at Together We Own It. The Executive Director was a source of support when the individual was going through some very difficult times. The Executive Director indicates that she recognized that the individual came to rely solely on her for emotional support and she made several attempts to connect the individual with professional help. Finally, the Executive Director spoke with the individual about her boundaries and the need to distance herself from the individual and the individual struggled with this. After the allegations were made to the authorities, the individual sent the Executive Director gifts to her home and indicated that they “messed up” and apologized, although it was not stated what exactly they were referring to.
On March 2nd, Together We Own It’s contract with Carroll County Public Schools was terminated “for convenience”. On March 31st, the Carroll County Commissioners and the Department of Citizen Services terminated contracts with Together We Own It for the same reason. No other explanation was provided for termination. Given the combined loss of over $100,000, Together We Own It will be terminating all youth programs beginning April 6th; laying off staff and referring clients out to other agencies. The Board of Directors will continue to meet to determine next steps for the organization moving forward.
We are devastated by the impact this situation has had in our community. The safety of our clients is paramount in what we do and we take that very seriously. Terminating youth programs will have the biggest impact on our youth, many of whom attend our center out of necessity. Our staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to be a beacon of support for children, youth, and families in Carroll County.
You can see the statement HERE on Facebook.
The statement above it mentions “It was not until March 27th, when a local blogger wrote an article about the situation and publicly shared the case files from the police report, that the Executive Director, or anyone at Together We Own It, knew exactly what the allegations were”.
Of note – the case files were shared with Katie Speert (Executive Director of TWOI) after a phone call on the morning of March 27th and prior to publishing the article on March 27th that included her statement.
The following is an exchange on Facebook Messenger:
The following is the statement received by The Observer prior to publishing the article on March 27th.
The full statement from Katie Speert was included in that article (see link to article below).
Another item of note is a recent change in the makeup of Board of Together We Own It (not mentioned above in the statement). Last week the Carroll County Observer and Maryland Muckraker were informed that multiple members had recently left the Board of Directors of TWOI.
Early last week this was the listing of Board Members on the website:
On Thursday March 30th…this was the listing of Board Members on the website:
The following names are the ones no longer listed as Board Members on the website as of March 30th: Zach Tomlin, Laura Morton, Ann Gilbert and Tasha Cramer.
You can see the current list here: https://www.togetherweownit.org/about
It is not known the exact date of the changes (we believe it was sometime between March 28th and March 30th) or if/when members of the Board left TWOI at this time…only that four names were removed from the website.
Previous articles on this topic include:
Additional information is expected to be released on April 4, 2023. Stay tuned.