Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) tonight charged that the Peace Corps worked to cover up the rape of nearly 1,000 U.S. women volunteers over the last decade.
Poe cited an ABCNews report from last week in which victims said the Peace Corps failed to heed safety concerns and in some cases blamed the women for "bringing on the attacks."
Poe cited one case in which a 29-year old woman was kidnapped, repeatedly raped and abandoned, and said the Peace Corps failed to act before or after those attacks. "In fact, for political reasons the Peace Corps did everything it could to ignore and cover up the dastardly deed, blaming the crime on the victim," Poe charged tonight.
The congressmen said that "no one is listening" at the Peace Corps. "Those days need to end," he concluded.
The Peace Corps's deputy director, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, told ABC that the Peace Corps has not attempted to cover up or keep quiet rapes of volunteers. "this is the first I've heard of any report of that nature," she told ABC.
One volunteer who was sexually assaulted in South Africa in 2009 has established a support group and website for other Peace Corps victims, First Response Action.