Winner 2011

ABC News Brian Ross Investigates: Peace Corps—A Trust Betrayed

ABC News 20/20

In November 2011, President Obama signed into law the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act. The law requires the Peace Corps to protect whistle blowers, hire victims’ advocates and improve volunteer training in order to reduce the risk of sexual assault. Brian Ross Investigates: Peace Corps—A Trust Betrayed was influential in the passage of this important legislation. The 10-month investigation began with a focus on the murder of Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old volunteer in Benin. Puzey had expressed concern regarding her experiences of sexual harassment and named a fellow Peace Corps employee whom she believed was molesting female students. Her email was seen by the employee‘s brother, and days later she was murdered. Ross’ team also discovered a pattern within the Peace Corps, a systematic failure to protect victims of sexual assault or those who reported these incidents. They found six women who agreed to speak publicly. They described assaults, hush-ups and “blame the victim” instructional videos. Following the broadcast, Harvard professor Karestan Koenen reported her own similar experience 20 years earlier. A Congressional hearing followed, and the current Peace Corps Director, Aaron Williams, promised significant changes. Kate Puzey’s family also testified at these hearings and expressed their appreciation for ABC News and the 20/20 investigation, without which they felt her death would have been in vain. For a revealing investigation into one of America‘s iconic public service institutions, a Peabody Award is presented to ABC News Brian Ross Investigates: Peace Corps—A Trust Betrayed.


Executive Producer: David Sloan (for 20/20). Producer: Anna Schecter. Field Producer: Angela Hill. Chief Investigative Producer: Rhonda Schwartz. Chief Investigative Correspondent: Brian Ross. Camera: Craig Matthew. Video Tape Editors: Tom Marcyes, Jack Pyle. Digital Managing Editor: Mark Schone