Peace Corps Promises to Stop Blaming Victims of Sex Assault


Murdered Volunteer's Mom Pleads for Change

The hearing also featured testimony from Lois Puzey, the mother of Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey who was murdered in Benin, Africa in 2009.

Kate had attempted to alert the Peace Corps to a local teacher, who worked part time with the Peace Corps, who was accused of sexually assaulting his students. She attempted to send an email to her superiors, but instead the email and compromising information ended up in the hands of the teacher's brother. Days later, Kate was dead.

"Tragically, the way that Kate's email was handled eventually led to her death... Kate was the heart of our family and our lives have been shattered," Lois Puzey said before pausing to gather herself. Lois Puzey said the Peace Corps refused to provide her family with information on her daughter's death and stopped communication altogether after four months. Two months after that, she said, a FedEx box appeared unaccompanied on their driveway, full of Kate's things from Benin.

Lois Puzey said the Peace Corps has never acknowledged the role they may have played in Kate's death and said, "had ABC's '20/20' not investigated her murder, we would not have heard from them."

Puzey also reminded Congress that a bill from 2007 would have provided some whistleblower protections, but it was not passed.

"If you had passed it, there's a possibility my daughter would still be alive," she told members of Congress. "Honor Kate's sacrifice by doing the right thing now."

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