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Foreign Students Say They Were Stranded

VISTA, CALIF. (CN) - A student exchange agency "brought students to the United States without having secured proper placements for homes and schools for the students," then defamed a nonprofit group that tried to help them, the Committee for the Safety of Foreign Exchange Students claims in Superior Court.

Asse International, based in Laguna Beach, failed to find long-term housing for its mostly high school student clients, or placed them in unsuitable homes, the committee says. The Oceanside-based nonprofit committee says the students sought its help when Asse placed them in unsuitable homes.

Asse responded to the Committee's concerns with a campaign of defamation, accusing committee founder Danielle Grijalva of attempted blackmail and misrepresenting herself as a federal agent, the lawsuit states.

The Asse Web site assures prospective students that their travel experience will be adventurous and safe. "The hardest part will be leaving your ASSE host family," the Web site states. "They will have shared in your adventure and learned from you, as you will have from them."

Plaintiffs are represented by David Allen Jr. of Irvine.

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