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KBR’s “Facts” About Rape Case Are No Such Thing

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Written by Megan Carpentier for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

In 2005, while working for KBR in Iraq, Jamie Leigh Jones was drugged and brutally sexually assaulted by a co-worker, Charles Boartz. After she reported the rape and underwent a forensic rape examination, she was escorted to a shipping container outfitted as a room, where guards were posted outside her door and she was prohibited from making phone calls. More than a day into her forced isolation, she convinced a guard to loan her a telephone to call her father in Texas. Her father called their congressman, Ted Poe, who called the State Department who had to send embassy officials to her shipping container to procure her release.

After she was released, her rape kit, which the Army hospital had turned over to KBR and KBR had turned over to the State Department, disappeared. The Pentagon wouldn’t investigate.

The Justice Department isn’t talking to anyone, including Congress, about the case. When Jamie sought civil remedies, KBR told her that her rape, and KBR's part in it, were part of the conditions of her employment contract and thus any complaints would be subject to mandatory arbitration -- and they’d be picking the arbitrator. After 15 months in arbitration, she and her lawyers went to court -- in a move fought by KBR -- to force the court to determine that rape was not a condition of her employment contract and thus her suit wasn’t covered by the arbitration agreement. The federal courts agreed last year but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that KBR dropped its Supreme Court appeal of the issue, and then only on the basis that Senator Al Franken’s law barring U.S. contractors from forcing rape victims into arbitration might affect their ongoing contracts.

Now Jamie Leigh Jones' suit against her former employer, KBR, her rapist and her boss for negligence, sexual harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, fraud, assault and battery and intentional affliction of emotional distress can go forward. But KBR isn’t going to roll over and settle the case or admit to any wrong-doing. Instead, they’re backing Jones’ rapist, and using his defense as their own. On their site, they have a “Facts About Jamie Leigh Jones” litigation that is chock full of lies, half-truths, PR spin and rape- apologist sentiment that should make any woman think twice about working for KBR, and should make U.S. taxpayers wonder why their money continues to go to a company that sides with brutal rapists over their victims because it is more financially expedient. ... Read more