KBR Told Victim She Could Lose Her Job If She Sought Help After Being Raped, She Says
Jamie Leigh Jones says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones said she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone. Then the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job. Jones indicated that she was held in the container for at least 24 hours without food and water. She said:
“It felt like prison. I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened.”
Over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was investigating the case.
More than likely the alleged rapists will not face a jury because of a huge loophole that has left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.
Since criminal charges have not been filed, the only option is the civil system, which Jones is using now. KBR does not want to see this case end up in a civil courtroom. KBR has moved for Jones’ claim to be heard in private arbitration, instead of a public courtroom. The company argues that her employment contract requires private arbitration. In recent testimony before Congress, employment lawyer Cathy Ventrell-Monsees said that Halliburton won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.
Since the attacks, Jones started a nonprofit foundation called the Jamie Leigh Foundation, which is dedicated to helping victims who were 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. They can go against corporations that have treated them this way. There needs to be a voice out there that really pushed for change. I’d like to be that voice.”