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AP: Exchange student sponsor out over abuse claims

JACKSON, Miss. — An organization has lost its government designation to bring foreign exchange students to the United States after facing allegations of mismanagement and lax oversight that included students being placed in homes where they were sexually abused.

State Department spokeswoman Susan Pittman said Friday Pacific Intercultural Exchange, or PIE, was removed Wednesday from the department’s list of official sponsors.

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State Department officials have not said exactly what problems led to PIE’s removal, but documents and e-mails obtained by AP in July showed allegations of serious problems, including sex abuse by host fathers. The documents also showed that the State Department had concerns about PIE’s operations for years.

The San Diego-based company was part of a network of organizations that brings 30,000 high school students to the US annually. PIE and other sponsors charge the students’ families thousands of dollars to arrange for them to live in American households and go to high school. The US government also gives grants to students from some countries.

PIE’s suspension affected 455 students this school year.

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