On November 1, the United States House of Representatives passed the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011, enacting historic reforms to the Peace Corps' policies for prevention of rape and sexual assault of its volunteers and for providing assistance to volunteers who experience sexual assault during their service. The bill, which passed in the Senate on September 26, has been sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
WilmerHale represented five returned Peace Corps volunteers, who were sexually assaulted during their service, in gathering and publicizing evidence of longstanding, systemic weaknesses in the Peace Corps' sexual assault prevention and response policies. The firm also provided substantial technical assistance to volunteers and others advocating the just-enacted reforms. We applaud the Congress for acting, and current Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams for supporting this landmark legislation. WilmerHale's pro bono team was led by Associates Natalie Adams and Zachary Beasley and Summer Associate Matthew Robinson, and supported by Partners Reginald Brown, Kimberly Parker and Senior Counsel John Valentine.
Congressional leadership was provided by Senators Isakson and Boxer and Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Poe and Tsongas. Pro bono public relations support was provided by Michele Davis and Anthony Coley of Brunswick Group. Click here for more information and a copy of the new legislation.