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article imageGang Raped Halliburton/KBR Employee Exposes Coverup By Government

By Pamela Jean     Dec 15, 2007 in Crime
Jamie Leigh Jones has come forward to expose the coverup she has experienced following her gang rape in Baghdad. Employed by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, she claims she was drugged and gang raped. Following the incident, no charges were ever filed.
20 year old Jamie Leigh Jones was an excellent employee. Employed by Halliburton/KBR she was offered a promotion, and accepted the position which would put her directly within the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Upon arrival she realized that she was one of only a small number of women being housed in the area, and that the general atmosphere was that of "boys will be boys".
She stated that she was subject to a lot of cat calls and sexual innuendos and felt somewhat uncomfortable with the overall atmosphere. The pretty, young blonde was no doubt a welcome sight to the men that had been stationed overseas for so long.
Within 4 days of her arrival, Jamie was approached by one of her fellow KBR employees and offered what he referred to as a "special drink". Not wanting to seem standoffish, she accepted the beverage and only recalls taking 2 or 3 sips. The rest of the evening is a blur.
When she awoke the next morning, she said she felt as if she had been hit by a truck. She limped to the bathroom and discovered huge bruises on her inner thighs, and she was bleeding heavily from her vaginal area. She called for help and was immediately taken to a medical facility in the area.
The physician examining her told Jamie she had obviously had sexual relations with more than one man - in other words, gang raped. She was bleeding both vaginally and rectally. A standard rape kit was used, and the report and kit were then handed over to the KBR escort that had accompanied her to the doctors office.
That kit, along with the medical records, are missing, and presumed lost.
She states she was then returned to the base, and was placed inside a shipping container with no food or water. Furnished with merely a bed, side table and lamp, she remained imprisoned for over 24 hours, guards standing at attention outside her door.
She was warned that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.
"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told by her employer.
"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."
She was finally able to convince a sympathetic guard to loan her his cell phone so she could call her father.
Her father, hearing of her plight promptly contacted their state congressman congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. Poe's office then contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.
A spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security told ABCNews, when inquiring about the case, stated that he could not comment on the matter.
As of today, over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. In fact, ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was even investigating the case.
Legal experts predict that Jones' alleged assailants will more than likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.
"It's very troubling," said Dean John Hutson of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. "The way the law presently stands, I would say that they don't have, at least in the criminal system, the opportunity for justice."
When asked what reasons the departments gave for the apparent slowness of the probes, Congressman Poe sounded frustrated.
"There are several, I think, their excuses, why the perpetrators haven't been prosecuted," Poe told ABC News. "But I think it is the responsibility of our government, the Justice Department and the State Department, when crimes occur against American citizens overseas in Iraq, contractors that are paid by the American public, that we pursue the criminal cases as best as we possibly can and that people are prosecuted."
Since no criminal charges have been filed, Ms. Jones is looking to the civil system for some form of retribution. It is apparent, however, the KBR does not want this case to heard in public. They have filed a motion to have the claim heard in private, using an arbitrator as opposed to a judge and jury. In arbitration, there is no public record nor transcript of the proceedings.
In recent testimony before Congress, employment lawyer Cathy Ventrell-Monsees said that Halliburton won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.
In her lawsuit, Jones' lawyer, Todd Kelly, says KBR and Halliburton created a "boys will be boys" atmosphere at the company barracks which put her and other female employees at great risk.
"I think that men who are there believe that they live without laws," said Kelly. "The last thing she should have expected was for her own people to turn on her."
Jones has since started a nonprofit foundation called the Jamie Leigh Foundation, which is dedicated to helping victims who are raped or sexually assaulted overseas while working for government contractors or other corporations.
"I want other women to know that it's not their fault," said Jones. "They can go against corporations that have treated them this way." Jones said that any proceeds from the civil suit will go to her foundation.
"There needs to be a voice out there that really pushed for change," she said. "I'd like to be that voice."
(note: some of the information provided herein was presented on ABC's 20/20 program last evening, which I watched. The balance is from the article posted at ABCnews.com)
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