Student exchange sponsor hounded by complaints

AP News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2012 10:52 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An Associated Press review shows an organization fighting its suspension from sponsoring high school exchange students has been hounded by problems in recent years.

Complaints range from lax oversight and inadequate background checks to charges of sexual abuse by host fathers.

San Diego-based Pacific Intercultural Exchange, or PIE, was suspended this year from its role as one of the U.S. State Department's official sponsors for the high school exchange program.

Sponsors can charge thousands of dollars to arrange for students to live with "host families" and go to school.

The State Department won't say exactly why PIE was suspended, but AP obtained emails and other records that show the company has been accused of mismanagement involving dozens of teenagers.

The company wouldn't comment.