Peace Corps worker allegedly abused minors in SA

2011-08-05 07:08

Washington – A former Peace Corps volunteer has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing children under six while working at a preschool in South Africa last year, US officials said.

Jesse Osmun (31) allegedly molested at least five minor girls and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with one of the girls while he was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer from May last year to May this year in Greytown, South Africa, according to the US Department of Justice.

“This defendant is alleged to have sexually abused very young girls, sometimes in exchange for candy, while he served as a Peace Corps volunteer at an Aids centre in South Africa,” said US Attorney David Fein in a statement.

In late March last year, Osmun was sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer at the Umvoti Aids Centre (UAC) in Greytown, South Africa.

The UAC is a non-governmental organisation that supports residents affected by the Aids virus and provides education, food and other development services to children ages three to 15.

“Mr Osmun is charged with a shocking breach of the power entrusted to him as a Peace Corps volunteer,” said US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

Authorities arrested Osmun at his home in Milford, Connecticut, yesterday.

He is charged with travelling outside of the US to engage in sexual conduct with a minor, and if convicted Osmun faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $250 000 (R1.7 million).

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