October 14, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tonga: Murder: Crime: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Media: Television: Journaism: CBS News: CBS News to air "48 Hours Mystery" on Deborah Gardner murder told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, "American Taboo."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tonga: Special Report: 'American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps': October 14, 2004: Headlines: COS - Tonga: Murder: Crime: Safety and Security of Volunteers: Media: Television: Journaism: CBS News: CBS News to air "48 Hours Mystery" on Deborah Gardner murder told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, "American Taboo."
American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps

Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
American Taboo American Taboo
Read the story of Volunteer Deborah Gardner's murder in Tonga in 1976 and how her killer has been free for the past 28 years with the help of the Peace Corps. Read an excerpt from Philip Weiss' book documenting the murder and coverup. Then read an essay by RPCV Bob Shaconis who says that Peace Corps' treatment as a "sacred cow" has exempted it from public scrutiny and that the agency has labored to preserve its shining reputation, sometimes at the expense of the very principles it is supposed to embody.





By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-9-111.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.9.111) on Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 5:25 pm: Edit Post

CBS News to air "48 Hours Mystery" on Deborah Gardner murder told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, "American Taboo."

CBS News to air 48 Hours Mystery on Deborah Gardner murder told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, American Taboo.

CBS News to air "48 Hours Mystery" on Deborah Gardner murder told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, "American Taboo."

American Taboo

Oct. 22, 2004


 Deborah Gardner

Deborah Gardner was a beautiful young American Peace Corps volunteer from Tacoma, Wash. (Photo: Frank Bevacqua)

 Deborah Gardner

She was murdered while on assignment in the South Pacific island nation of Tonga. (Photo: Frank Bevacqua)

 Dennis Priven

Dennis Priven, a fellow Peace Corps worker from Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged with her murder by Tongan police.
(Photo: Frank Bevacqua)



Dig Deeper
Read an excerpt from "American Taboo" by Phillip Weiss.

Find out more about "American Taboo", published by HarperCollins.



(CBS) On Oct. 14, 1976, Deborah Gardner, a beautiful, young American Peace Corps volunteer from Tacoma, Wash., was murdered while on assignment in the South Pacific island nation of Tonga.

Dennis Priven, a 24-year-old fellow Peace Corps worker from Brooklyn, N.Y., who friends say was obsessed with Gardner, was charged with her murder by Tongan police.

But in a bizarre turn of events, Priven avoided going to prison for Gardner's murder and received a clean record from the Peace Corps. Many today are left wondering if justice was served and if the Peace Corps was trying to protect the murderer.

Correspondent Susan Spencer reports for 48 Hours Mystery, Saturday, Oct. 23, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. At his trial, Priven faced death by hanging if found guilty. His attorney argued that he was a paranoid schizophrenic, and was therefore not guilty by reason of insanity.

A Tongan jury agreed, but with no Tongan facilities available to treat Priven, Peace Corps and State Department officials arranged for him to be returned to the United States, where they promised he would be admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Once back in America, the Peace Corps soon learned it had no legal authority over Priven. It was only at the urging of Peace Corps officials that he agreed to see a psychiatrist, whose diagnosis was that Priven had experienced a psychotic episode when he killed Gardner and that he was no longer a threat to anyone.

With that diagnosis, Priven was free to go and he returned to Brooklyn. Ironically, he worked for the U.S. government as a computer specialist at the Social Security Administration. Priven briefly married and recently retired. Today, Gardner's family and friends wonder if Priven was really mentally ill or simply used the insanity defense to get away with murder.

This 48 Hours Mystery follows the true-life story, told by best-selling author Phil Weiss in his new book, "American Taboo."


© MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.





When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?


Read the stories and leave your comments.






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Story Source: CBS News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Tonga; Murder; Crime; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Media; Television; Journaism

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By RPCV (user-105n868.dialup.mindspring.com - 64.91.160.200) on Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 2:59 am: Edit Post

Diagnosis for Hire with Peace Corps.
An Investigation on this Doctor needs to be done by the GAO and or the up coming Ombudsman.


Friends called me this week regarding the Deborah Gardner story which was nationally televised. Some of these friends are heavily involved in Domestic Violence in the United States. It struck a nerve in one of my friends on how Peace Corps staff behaved. She has heard about the many cases where Peace Corps gets it wrong on security issues.

Peace Corps has used this particular Doctor to get the diagnosis they sought. This Dr. who is very controversial in the psychiatry world and even called a quack by many psychiatrists in Washington DC area. This so called Doctor or Medicine man, as we know him has been Dr. Diagnosis to separate, wrongfully categorize volunteers, stigmatize volunteers and fire many others. In this particular case, he got Peace Corps the diagnosis they wanted again. The Peace Corps and the Congress should do an internal review of this particular Doctor and how many volunteers have been separated from service due to his diagnosis or any other abnormalities he has created. You could call him Dr. Mengala of the Peace Corps.

Look how he helped Peace Corps in this circumstance. He has always helped them get what they wanted vs volunteer rights.

Insanity is one thing. But, pre mediatation is another. I think we are all smart enough to know what this was. What kind of knife did he have?

No one has questioned Mary George or any other staffers regarding this case.

Its a shame.

This is an example of the perpetrators of crimes getting away with murder. People who terrorize and rape volunteers get away with it too because of lies that lurch in safety issues in the past. Many of these cases were covered up at Medical services. Mistakes from the past in these areas are hurting the families of former volunteers. Peace Corps needs to acknowledge these fundamental problems.


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