Obama Signs Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act


Carrie Hessler-Radelet, the Peace Corps deputy director, refused to say at the time of the "20/20" investigation whether the agency bore any responsibility for Kate Puzey's death, citing the ongoing criminal investigation in Benin. "I cannot say because the investigation is not complete," she told ABC News.

Critics of the Peace Corps say the agency has a culture that tries to downplay violent incidents overseas and make victims feel responsible for their own misfortunes. Women who were sexually assaulted while serving as Peace Corps volunteers told ABC News that the treatment they received after they were attacked was sometimes worse than the assaults themselves, and that the agency seemed ill-equipped to deal with victims.

WATCH an interview with victims of sexual assault.

Casey Frazee, who was assaulted while serving in South Africa, formed a group called First Response Action to pressure the Peace Corps into reforming its treatment of victims and updating its sexual assault prevention program.

Frazee said the new law represented a "huge step in the right direction" for the Peace Corps.

"Once it's implemented, certainly we'll need to see how things are going," Frazee said. "Nothing like this exists, nothing that codifies anything like this in the Peace Corps... I'm just incredibly thankful and grateful that I had a hand in this. It was an effort by many, many people and many other victims who weren't able to speak up, and some who were."

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