American Predators, American Values

March 14, 2012

Tags: Anna Schecter, Rock Center, Foreign Exchange Students Raped, State Department

Anna Schecter’s latest story for MSNBC’s Rock Center about sexual predators in rural America is sadly all too familiar. We’re used to reading about the connections between poverty, isolation, silence and sex crimes. But the piece Schecter broke, which is about foreign exchange students who’ve been sexually abused in a program overseen by the State Department, reveals how perpetrators are protected at various institutional levels, while victims are told to keep their mouths shut.

Schecter, who recently won a George Polk Award for her reporting on rape in the Peace Corps, writes that dozens of high school foreign exchange students have been raped, sexually abused, or harassed by American host parents from fourteen different exchange organizations in towns and cities across the country.

Parents like Doyle Meyer, exchange father, program coordinator, drug pusher, and perpetrator, who was not fired by the Education Resource Development Trust even after a boy he molested at his trailer in rural Arkansas came forward.

Like Schecter’s earlier piece on how rape of Peace Corps volunteers has been systematically covered up, this story shows us again how American institutions put their reputations and their wallets before the lives of victims.

What is most heartening about Schecter’s investigation is that she takes a close look at perpetrators and the people whose silence and inaction allowed them to keep hurting children. In a culture where rape and murder constitute a large percentage of our entertainment and a tragically consistent part of our breaking news, Schecter steps outside of the cliché of examining victims’ lives and turns a bright light on the institutional abuse that’s to blame.

Kate Snow’s full report on the issue will air today, Mar. 14 at 10 pm/9 c on Rock Center with Brian Williams. Please spread the word about this story and tune in.


  1. March 14, 2012 6:14 PM EDT
    Chilling, Cara. I'll be sure to tune in to the report tonight.
    - Jill
  2. March 15, 2012 8:30 AM EDT
    Kudos to both Cara and Anna for shifting the conversation from dissecting victim's lives to focusing on the institutions and individuals that perpetuate violence and abuse.

    You both rock.
    - Karestan Koenen
  3. March 16, 2012 2:23 PM EDT
    Jesus. Thank you for sharing this Cara, especially for people in charge of oversight of programs. I am going to forward this to colleagues in my field.
    - Alexis