2011.11.02: November 2, 2011: Lois Puzey hopes the bill named for her daughter Kate Puzey will forestall another parent's pain

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Peace Corps Benin : Peace Corps Benin: Newest Stories: 2011.01.14: January 14, 2011: Report by ABC News 20/20: Parents of Slain Volunteer Kate Puzey Say Peace Corps Error Led to Murder: 2011.11.02: November 2, 2011: Lois Puzey hopes the bill named for her daughter Kate Puzey will forestall another parent's pain

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Lois Puzey hopes the bill named for her daughter Kate Puzey will forestall another parent's pain

Lois Puzey hopes the bill named for her daughter Kate Puzey will  forestall another parent's pain

In March 2009, Puzey emailed a superior to report an accusation that a local Peace Corps employee was molesting girls in the remote Benin village. The man's brother worked in Benin's Peace Corps headquarters, and the accusation apparently was repeated to others. That night, Puzey's throat was slit in her sleep. The man, his brother and a third person of interest are jailed in Benin awaiting trial. Isakson, who has traveled to Benin, sought high-ranking help to move the case forward. President Barack Obama brought up the case to Benin President Boni Yayi in an Oval Office meeting, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote Yayi a letter promising that "resolution of this case will enhance Benin's reputation throughout the international community for respecting and enforcing the law." Benin requested FBI assistance in the case, and an agent is on the ground helping the prosecution, Isakson said Tuesday. "We feel like the full resources of the United States law enforcement are working hand in hand with the Benin government," Isakson said. The senator also worked with the family on legislation to aid future volunteers, requiring that sexual assault and similar reports be kept confidential and penalties be imposed on Peace Corps employees who break that confidentiality. With Obama's signature, Kate Puzey's name will be enshrined in law. The bill name was something her father, Harry, insisted upon. Said Lois Puzey, "It's definitely a legacy and an homage to her."

Lois Puzey hopes the bill named for her daughter Kate Puzey will forestall another parent's pain

Cumming murder victim's Peace Corps bill clears House

By Daniel Malloy

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WASHINGTON -- It won't bring her back, but Lois Puzey of Cumming expressed hope that a bill named for her daughter that cleared Congress on Tuesday would forestall another parent's pain.

Kate Puzey was a Peace Corps volunteer in the west African nation of Benin in 2009 when she was murdered, in apparent retaliation for accusing a local Peace Corps employee of molesting village girls. She was 24.

On Tuesday night, the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 passed the House 406-0, following unanimous Senate passage in September. The bill establishes sexual assault policies and training to protect victims and whistle-blowers.

"It's been a difficult, amazing, bittersweet journey to get where we are," Lois Puzey said by phone Tuesday. "It's very gratifying and I really do believe that future Peace Corps volunteers will be safer and will have more support if something goes wrong because of this law."

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., read about Puzey's death in a newspaper and attended her funeral unannounced. He struck up a friendship with the family and started a push for legislation.

In March 2009, Puzey emailed a superior to report an accusation that a local Peace Corps employee was molesting girls in the remote Benin village. The man's brother worked in Benin's Peace Corps headquarters, and the accusation apparently was repeated to others. That night, Puzey's throat was slit in her sleep.

The man, his brother and a third person of interest are jailed in Benin awaiting trial.

Isakson, who has traveled to Benin, sought high-ranking help to move the case forward. President Barack Obama brought up the case to Benin President Boni Yayi in an Oval Office meeting, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote Yayi a letter promising that "resolution of this case will enhance Benin's reputation throughout the international community for respecting and enforcing the law."

Benin requested FBI assistance in the case, and an agent is on the ground helping the prosecution, Isakson said Tuesday.

"We feel like the full resources of the United States law enforcement are working hand in hand with the Benin government," Isakson said.

The senator also worked with the family on legislation to aid future volunteers, requiring that sexual assault and similar reports be kept confidential and penalties be imposed on Peace Corps employees who break that confidentiality.

The bill mandated that the Peace Corps assign sexual assault liaisons for each country to work with victims and conduct training, establish an office for victim's advocates and create an external sexual assault advisory council.

A similar bill did not gain traction in the last Congress, and Isakson credited the passage of this bill to "hard work." A crucial factor was Peace Corps director Aaron Williams' ability to gain funding for the new programs from the Peace Corps' existing budget.

"The legislation codifies many of the reforms that the agency has put in place over the past two years to ensure that Peace Corps volunteers serving worldwide receive the support and protection they deserve," Williams said in a statement.

With Obama's signature, Kate Puzey's name will be enshrined in law. The bill name was something her father, Harry, insisted upon.

Said Lois Puzey, "It's definitely a legacy and an homage to her."




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Headlines: November, 2011; Peace Corps Benin; Directory of Benin RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Benin RPCVs; Sexual Assault and Harassment; Congress; Legislation; Safety and Security of Volunteers





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Story Source: Atlanta Constitution Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Benin; SA; Congress; Legislation; Safety

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