What Happened to the Peace Corps?


As detailed in an ABC News investigation that aired on "20/20", Kate was murdered two weeks after she sent the email. The prime suspect is the former Peace Corps employee she complained about, whose brother worked in the office of the country director.

"Kate was a hero. This was a courageous thing to do," said Ludlam. "It turned out to be a naive thing to do." Ludlam charged that the Peace Corps "blew her cover as a whistleblower."

The Peace Corps declined to comment on the Puzey case to ABC News, citing the ongoing criminal investigation in Benin, but Peace Corps director Aaron Williams issued an apology to the Puzey family after the "20/20" report aired, saying he was sorry if the family felt the agency had not been helpful after Kate's death.


Puzey's Family Wants Bill to Protect Peace Corps Volunteers

Puzey's family hopes Congress will pass a Kate Puzey bill, giving whistleblower protection to volunteers.They say they feel Kate's confidentiality should have been protected, and that it could have saved her life.

"We want Kate's legacy to stand for something so no family has to go through what we have," said David Puzey, Kate's brother.

Senator Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, a former Peace Corps volunteer, introduced a bill that would have given whistleblower rights to volunteers in 2007, but Peace Corps vehemently opposed it and the bill died.

After Puzey's death in 2009, Dodd and Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, tried again with a new bill, which was introduced but is now in limbo. Dodd retired from the Senate earlier this month.

Isakson told ABC News that he is doing everything he can to see it through. The current language, he says, does not include "whistleblower rights," but it does have a provision for a secure mechanism for volunteers to report any issue "up chain of command."

Asked about whistleblower status for volunteers, the Peace Corps' Hessler-Radelet told ABC News prior to the 20/20 report that volunteers were not federal employees. "There are some technicalities that are difficult," she said. Only federal employees are entitled to whistleblower protection under current law.

But Hessler-Radelet said that if Congress were to pass a law giving volunteers whistleblower rights the Peace Corps would follow the law.

"If this legislation is passed, we'd be happy to work with [Congress], absolutely," she said. "In general we are very supportive of volunteers being protected under the law."

"I believe Peace Corps is still America's best idea and that Peace Corps is a great institution, that we care deeply about our volunteers and that we will do our best to support them," she said.

"It doesn't mean everything's perfect," said Hessler-Radelet. "We're continually striving for excellence. And we have -- you know, there's always things we could do better, absolutely, without question. I'm willing to take responsibility for anything that we need to in order to improve."


Follow ABCNewsBlotter on Twitter

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12749900.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...