Ex-Peace Corps worker pleads to sex abuse

June 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn., June 27 (UPI) -- A former Peace Corps volunteer pleaded guilty Wednesday in Connecticut to sexually abusing girls under 6 while volunteering in South Africa.

Jesse Osmun, 32, of Milford, Conn., entered the plea in Hartford before Chief U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson, admitting to one count of traveling from the United States to South Africa and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Osmun was sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer in March 2009 and began his service at a non-governmental organization in South Africa that provides education, food and other services to children, many of whom are orphans.

In May 2011, Osmun resigned from the Peace Corps after being confronted by the program director of the NGO with allegations of sexual abuse. He returned to the United States in June 2011 to face an investigation.

Court documents said the investigation revealed that, while volunteering at the NGO, Osmun enticed four young girls, all of whom were under the age of 6, to engage in illicit sexual conduct with him.

Osmun persuaded the children to engage in this conduct by playing games with them and providing them with candy. Osmun sexually abused one of the victims approximately two times a week over the course of about five months, the department said.

Osmun was arrested at his home in Milford in August last year. He has been detained since his arrest.

The judge scheduled sentencing for Sept. 19. Osmun faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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