House, Senate propose changes at Peace Corps to address sexual assault

Poe has spoken on this issue several times this year on the House floor, including in January, when he said the Peace Corps has covered up nearly 1,000 rapes over the last decade.

"Peace Corps volunteers are ambassadors of the United States who spend their lives helping others who are less fortunate all over the world," Poe said last week. "These precious people are dedicated to taking care of others; now it is time to make sure that they are taken care of."

The bill is titled the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act, after a 24-year old volunteer from Georgia was murdered in 2009 in Benin while in the Peace Corps. Isakson, who introduced the Senate version of the bill on Monday, said she was killed soon after reporting a colleague for molesting some of the girls in a village in that African country.

Isakson said the bill would also increase protections for volunteers who report improper actions by others while overseas.

"The sacrifice of Kate Puzey's life demands that we provide every Peace Corps volunteer with the security and protection necessary to carry out their job," Isakson said. "I believe that this legislation will go long way in achieving this goal."

Isakson added that he visited the president of Benin just weeks ago to press for a resolution to the Puzey case. He said he delivered a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that stressed the urgency of resolving the case.

In the House, the bill has the support of several members of both parties, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

The Senate bill is supported by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).