A foreign exchange student who was denied entrance into Frederick County Public Schools this semester returned to her home country of Kazakhstan last week.
Taissiya Kryazhova had hoped to be a student at Frederick High School, but a mix-up with her entrance paperwork and other complications prevented her enrollment.
She was a scholarship student in the Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Pacific Intercultural Exchange, based in California.
Her host family, Gerry and Peg Marose of Frederick, tried to enroll her in Frederick Christian Academy, but she was sent to a host family in Massachusetts instead.
According to John M. Doty, president of the Pacific Intercultural Exchange, Kryazhova asked to return to her home country while in Massachusetts. Kryazhova had expressed her unhappiness with the situation in several e-mails to the Maroses.
In an e-mail to the Maroses, Doty called the situation “one misunderstanding after another,” and thanked them for the advocacy and care they provided Kryazhova during her brief stay in Frederick.
The Committee for the Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, a nonprofit also based in California, reported the Pacific Intercultural Exchange organization to the U.S. Department of State, saying the organization violated regulations by not having Kryazhova enrolled in school before she came to the U.S.
Doty countered in an e-mail that he had addressed the allegations with the Department of State, and that interpretations of his organization’s role in the fiasco are “inaccurate.”
The Maroses said in an e-mail they were “extremely saddened” that Taya was sent to Massachusetts.
“This has been an experience that none of us will forget,” the Maroses said in the e-mail. “We are grateful for the community response to the needs of the wonderful student and especially to those in the media that have championed on Taya’s behalf.”
The Maroses said they have been in touch with Yerlan Kubashev, counsel of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York, who requested contact information for those involved in Kryazhova’s stay in the U.S.
The Maroses assured Kubashev they are happy to assist.
“Taissiya worked all her life to earn the right to the FLEX scholarship, and I am appalled that we were not able to truly welcome her to America with open arms.”
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Yahoo | November 30, 2012 | By Holbrock Mohr | Associated Press
JACKSON – (AP) 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 told The Associated Press that Pacific Intercultural Exchange, or PIE, was removed from the department’s list of official sponsors.
State Department officials haven’t said exactly what problems led to PIE’s removal, but documents and emails obtained by AP in July showed allegations of serious problems, including sexual 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 close to 30,000 high school students to the U.S. 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 U.S. government also gives grants to students from some countries.
PIE was suspended from the program in July. The company challenged the suspension, but it was upheld during an administrative appeals process. The suspension affected more than 455 students from 18 countries for this school year.
The State Department also decided at that time to deny PIE’s sponsor re-designation, which comes up for renewal every two years.
The company faced a deadline earlier this month to appeal the decision, but decided not to challenge it, meaning the company was removed from the sponsor list, Pittman said.
“The department has had long-standing concerns that PIE operated its exchange program in a manner that put at risk the health, safety and welfare of student participants,” Pittman said. “The department remains vigilant in its oversight of exchange visitor program sponsors to ensure that the participants’ experiences are safe and rewarding.”
Two of the most serious cases of problems involved host fathers convicted of sexually abusing exchange students, including one in which PIE was accused of failing to do an adequate background check.
In one of the sexual abuse cases, PIE host father Craig Steven Ley of Beaverton, Oregon, pleaded guilty in 2010 to sexually abusing a German boy. PIE didn’t do an adequate background check which would have disclosed Ley had a felony record for using another exchange student in a bogus insurance claim, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the student.
PIE President John Doty testified in September as part of the lawsuit that his company had known since 2006 that Ley was a convicted felon, though he denied personal knowledge of Ley’s criminal record and said his company didn’t know the prior crime involved an exchange student.
The company also tried to falsify records in 2010 to conceal the fact that it brought a 17-year-old girl from Kazakhstan to Maryland without having her registered for school, according to documents reviewed by AP. The students are supposed to be registered for school before coming to the U.S. The girl ended up going home disappointed and distraught.
Officials in Louisiana were so alarmed by the living conditions of PIE students that in 2010 the Vermillion Parish School Board banned the company from placing students in the district.
Doty, the PIE president, told his staff in a 2006 email that the company narrowly dodged sanctions for canceling “a number” of students who signed up to participate in 2005. The email also said Doty went to Washington D.C., in 2006 to meet with State Department officials because he was again faced with canceling participants, this time 113 Korean students.
PIE’s website says it has brought more than 25,000 students to the U.S. since the 1970s.
The company generated nearly $3.5 million from October 2009 to September 2010, according to a 2011 IRS filing required of nonprofit organizations. About $1.26 million was from government contributions or grants, but the majority of the company’s money, about $2.26 million, came from its foreign program fees, according to the document. The company’s website says it has facilitated exchanges for more than 25,000 high school students since the 1970s.
2012 Jul 30: Utvekslingsåret ble et mareritt (“Live kontaktet utvekslingsorganisasjonen Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE). Der fikk hun beskjed om at hun måtte sette seg ned med familien og ordne opp selv.”)
2012 Aug 02: US student exchange group hits a hurdle (“The San Diego-based Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) has been suspended from the US visa program used by students on exchange trips over undisclosed rule violations.”)
2012 Nov 30: Non-Redesignation of Secondary School Student Exchange Sponsor (“The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has removed Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) of San Diego from its list of designated Secondary School Student Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) sponsors, effective November 28, 2012.”)
Oregon Live | By Emily E. Smith | email@example.com
updated January 05, 2011 at 9:50 PM
A Beaverton man who sexually abused the high school exchange student he hosted last school yearwas sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison.Craig Steven Ley, 51, facing five counts of first-degree and five counts of second-degree sex abuse, took a plea deal last month and pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree sex abuse.Washington County Judge Eric Butterfield sentenced Ley Wednesday afternoon, granting the sentence Ley and prosecutors agreed to in the deal.
The victim, a 16-year-old European boy, was living with Ley and attending a Beaverton school as a foreign exchange student when the abuse occurred.
In June 2010, the boy reported months of abuse that began early in his stay with Ley.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Maloney said Ley, an active member of the Beaverton lacrosse community, had hosted exchange students previously, but officials found no evidence of prior abuse.
Maloney described in court Wednesday how the relationship between Ley and his victim quickly escalated to the two sleeping in Ley’s bed every night and having daily sexual contact.
A visitor in a foreign country, the boy “was completely and utterly reliant on the defendant,” Maloney said.
“When he would talk to his parents over Skype,” Maloney said, “the defendant would always be lurking about; he would pop in and out sporadically throughout the phone calls.”
His parents never knew that their son’s host father lived alone, had filed bankruptcy and had a 2004 federal felony mail fraud conviction.
The teen didn’t see his family in person until his aunt came from Germany to visit him at Ley’s home in June 2010, shortly before his high school graduation, Maloney said.
He then admitted to his aunt that he slept in Ley’s bed, and his aunt recognized, “this was not the American dream,” Maloney said.
His aunt took him to CARES Northwest, a program that assesses and treats child abuse, and a criminal investigation began.
Ley pulled off the inappropriate relationship by taking advantage of the victim’s vulnerability, Maloney said, and playing off the behavior as fun and normal.
Defense attorney Devon Fooks said Ley’s actions were less sinister than Maloney described.
Fooks said his client didn’t groom or prey upon the student but leaned on him for emotional support during a troubling year. Ley developed a friendship with the boy that “went too far,” Fooks said.
The abuse didn’t occur daily or “with great frequency,” Fooks added, and sometimes the victim initiated the acts.
While those facts don’t relieve Ley of any responsibility, Fooks said, the abuse was “situational more than predatory.”
Ley addressed the court, offering an apology to his victim and family, and explaining that he genuinely cared for the victim and the previous 18 exchange students he had hosted.
“To hurt anybody who I cared for … in my home – that hurts and tears my heart apart,” he said.
For years Ley and his ex-wife alternated hosting boys and girls each year, he said, and he treated them as he would his own children.
In the 2009-10 school year, Ley said, “I had a difficult time stepping up and being an adult that year.”
Butterfield ordered Ley to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.
Craig Ley, 50, a board member of Beaverton High School Lacrosse Club and a lacrosse coach for Beaverton Youth Lacrosse, was arrested Monday on 10 counts of sexual abuse, involving a teenage exchange student.
Washington County Sheriffs Office Craig Ley
The 16-year-old boy was living with Ley, said Sgt. VanceStimler, a Washington County Sheriff’s Officespokesman.The abuse occurred off and on from October until June of this year, and was discovered after relatives of the victim visited the Ley household, according to the sheriff’s office. This is not the first exchange student Ley has hosted.
“We are concerned there may be other victims,” Stimler said.
The exchange student was not a member of Ley’s lacrosse team. Beaverton High School Lacrosse is a club sport run by parents and is not a program of the Beaverton School District.
The victim attended school in Beaverton, which relies on the exchange student agencies to ensure the safe placement of the foreign students, said Maureen Wheeler, Beaverton School District spokeswoman.
District policy requires the exchange program be approved and in good standing, have a local representative who can meet with school personnel and has demonstrated successful placement of students in the past, among other requirements.
According to court records, Ley does not have any criminal convictions in Oregon.
The sheriffs office is asking anyone who has specific information that Ley had illegal contact with other minors to call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at (503) 846-2700.
Oregonian reporter Colleen Stewart contributed to this story.
In the case of PIE (France)/ASSE/World Heritage v Veronika Beddick and Danielle Grijalva it turns out that the plaintiffs did not have much of a case and had chosen to wait it out rather than take Ms. Grijalva to court. Ms. Grijalva’s and Ms. Beddick’s attorney sent this Letter of Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice to the plaintiffs in order to close the case properly.
P.I.E. claims ASSE fired Beddick with just cause. Supposedly filled with a need for revenge, Beddick contacted CSFES. Together, Beddick and CSFES supposedly disseminated falsehoods to French students, their natural parents and French diplomacy. P.I.E. call the Defendants’ actions a campaign of falsehood and disparagement.
Defamation, civil conspiracy, interference with business relations and interference with contract. (Appellants’ Appendix (“AA”) 38-49.)
PIE’s complaint alleged that Grijalva and CSFES made false or misleading statements about PIE, its students and affiliates in the U.S., including ASSE and World Heritage. (AA 40-49.)
The complaint specifically alleged that Grijalva contacted the parents of a PIE student by email and falsely claimed that “all too often students are placed [by PIE and its affiliates] in the homes of convicted felons and registered sex offenders.” (AA 41.)
The complaint further alleged that Grijalva contacted the French Consulate regarding the enrollment of a French PIE student into a North Carolina high school, and that
Grijalva contacted a French PIE student in Missouri by email and said “PIE France is not interested in the safety and welfare of its students.'”(AA 42.)
2007 Dec 20: Preliminary injunction barring Grijalva from contacting PIE’S students, their natural families and host families. (AA 51-54.)
2008 Feb 8: ASSE and World Heritage v Grijalva
Alleged that Grijalva defamed ASSE, interfered with ASSE’s business relationships and contracts, and disseminated knowingly false, malicious and misleading information to students in the ASSE program. (AA 56-59.)
2008 Mar 11: Notice of Related Case Filed By Danielle Grijalva; CSFES
A complaint filed with a retaliatory motive was not barred by the anti-SLAPP statute, so long as the claims in the complaint arose from statements or conduct independent of ASSE’s participation in the North Carolina litigation.
2008 Mar 24: First Amended Complaint Filed By Danielle Grijalva; CSFES.
2008 Apr 24: Demurrer Filed By ASSE International, Inc.; Helga Brandt.
2008 Apr 24: Motion To Strike Filed By ASSE International, Inc.; Helga Brandt.
2008 Jul 16: Notice of Non-Receipt of Opposition
2008 Jul 21: Ex Parte Application for Late Opposition filed by Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Opposition to Motion to Strike filed by Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Declaration of Danielle Grijalva
2008 Jul 21: Second Amended Complaint by Danielle Grijalva; CSFES
2008 Jul 22: Declaration of David Allen
2008 Jul 22: Opposition to Ex Parte Filed By ASSE International, Inc.
2008 Jul 24: Ex Parte Denied.
2008 Jul 25: Motion to Strike Granted. Attorney fees denied.
2008 Jul 25: Demurrer off calendar as Moot
2008 Aug 04: Motion for Attorney Fees by Defendants
2008 Oct 17: Opposition by Plaintiff
2008 Oct 31: Attorneys Fees Granted
Electing to work on one client’s matters at the expense of another client does not constitute excusable neglect …. The trial court properly exercised its discretion to deny consideration of Appellants’ late-filed opposition.
ASSE and Brandt did not demonstrate that the defamatory statements alleged in plaintiffs’ amended complaint were made in a judicial proceeding or in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a judicial body.
Accordingly, the trial court erred in concluding that ASSE and Brandt carried their burden of demonstrating that plaintiffs’ action arose from petitioning activity that is protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.
OCEANSIDE(USA): Danielle Grijalva, Director Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, Oceanside, California has issued an alert for students coming to USA from various countries.
“Twenty-five teenagers from Lebanon, Ganza, Ukraine, Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Kuwait, Muldova and Ukraine are without homes.
The students are here through the YES/FLEX program, wherein the student exchange agency Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) was awarded millions of tax payer grants to invite these teenagers to the United States. PIE failed to secure host families and schools and have left these children stranded and confused. ……..
Party Issuing Legal Threat: Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges; ASSE International, Inc.; World Heritage, Inc.
Type of Party: Organization
Location of Party: California; New York; France
Legal Counsel: Robert M. Elliot; Richard D. Menaker (Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges)
Party Receiving Legal Threat: Danielle Joyce Grijalva; Veronica Beddick
Type of Party: Individual
Location of Party: California; North Carolina
Legal Counsel: Jennifer Arno (Grijalva)
Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges (P.I.E.), a French nonprofit that organizes student exchange programs, filed suit against Danielle Grijalva, director of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES), over emails and postings on CSFES’s website that criticized the organization’s handling of students. P.I.E.’s complaint asserted claims of defamation, civil conspiracy, interference with contract, and interference with business relationships. The suit also named as a defendant Veronica Beddick, a former employee of ASSE International, a nonprofit that assisted in student placements, alleging that she provided confidential information to Grijalva and assisted in the disputed acts.
In emails and postings to the CSFES website, Grijalva allegedly accused the plaintiff organizations of numerous wrondoings related to their treatment of foreign exchange students.
According to the complaint and other court filings, the accusations included that the organizations failed to place students in schools, failed to place students in permanent homes, placed students in homes with felons, and otherwise violated laws that regulate foreign exchange programs.
According to press reports, Grijalva has said that she sent an email to the father of a foreign exchange student at the student’s request but that she has not engaged in any “mass effort” to contact students, their families, or host families.
P.I.E.’s complaint included a request for a temporary restraining order against Grijalva and Beddick. On September 21, 2007, the court granted the request, ordering the defendants to cease communicating with P.I.E. students as well as the students’ familes, host familes, and educational institutions. The temporary restraining order, by its terms, expired after 10 days unless the court renewed it.
On Dec. 12, 2007, the court granted a preliminary injunction against Grijalva that reiterated the prohibition on direct communication with students and others involved with the plaintiffs and further ordered her to refrain from disseminating false or misleading information about the plaintiff organizations via email or her website.
On May 30, 2008, the court granted a near-identical preliminary injunction against Grijalva brought by P.I.E. associates (and plaintiff-intervenors) ASSE and World Heritage, Inc.
OCEANSIDE, CA—A child protection organization is being taken to court by student exchange placement agencies due to efforts to protect foreign exchange students.
Danielle Grijalva of Oceanside, CA, director of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES), will be in court in North Carolina on May 15 facing student placement agencies, which have obtained a restraining order to thwart her efforts.At issue is whether a child protection advocate should be restrained from reporting incidences of abuse of foreign exchange students.
CSFES is a non-profit advocacy group for the protection of foreign exchange students.A New York teacher allegedly witnessed the physical assault of a French female exchange student by her ASSE International, Inc. representative and sent a complaint to ASSE. The teacher provided the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES) a copy of his complaint, complete with translated letters from four exchange students who witnessed the assault. The teacher’s complaint was forwarded by CSFES to the Buffalo Police Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the U.S. Department of State.
On Sept. 26, 2007, the ASSE partner in France, Programmes Internationaux D’Echanges (PIE France) filed a Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Discovery against the director of CSFES. ASSE and World Heritage, Inc. filed a separate Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order against the director of CSFES.“Do I believe this is an intimidation tactic? Absolutely.” said Danielle Grijalva, director of CSFES. “Let me emphasize that children’s safety must be first and foremost in foreign exchanges and every other aspect of education. We want to ensure that visitors to our country enjoy a safe and enriching academic and cultural experience that builds bridges for future collaboration, be it social, educational or economic.”Grijalva remains firm, “Abuse by those in positions of trust will not be tolerated.” The May 15 hearing will be held at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice, 200 North Main Street, Courtroom 4C, Winston-Salem, North Carolina