Alleged rape victim sued by Iraqi contractor
Jamie Leigh Jones had alleged that a group of co-workers drugged and raped her in 2006 while she was working in Iraq for KBR, a then-subsidiary of Halliburton. She said she was held hostage in a shipping container for hours and humiliated after the sexual assault, but a jury this year said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute the defendants.
Now KBR is asking for millions to cover the legal fees that they accumulated while standing trial.
“They have beaten us and now they are attempting to crush us,” Jones’ lawyer tells the Wall Street Journal. “This is an attempt by KBR to chill other people from bringing claims against them.”
Jones’ original trial took place earlier this year, five years after she alleged the incident occurred. A rape kit was administered by an US Army physician after the attack, though it disappeared for two years, only to resurface without crucial information that would have helped Jones’ case. Following the alleged incident, physician Jodi Schultz confirmed that Jones was beaten and bloody and that her breast implants were ruptured during the supposed rape.
Jones was seeking $145 million from KBR for failing to enforce its sexual harassment policies and was going after the company, its owners and a co-worker she said raped her, a firefighter named Charles Bortz. Jurors deliberated for 10 hours before agreeing that the case lacked sufficient evidence needed for a guilty verdict.
An investigation by the Department of Justice’s Crime Victims Office was never carried out due to a lack of jurisdiction over private contractors overseas. KBR had originally tried to keep Jones from taking the case to court, arguing that her contract required internal arbitration in lieu of jury trials, though the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed her to go forward with the suit, where her attorneys brought up charges of negligence, negligent undertaking, sexual harassment and others.