Jamie Leigh Jones Claims After Iraq Rape Employer Held Her Against Her Will
Says she was drugged, assaulted while working for military contractor KBR.
June 21, 2011 — -- A woman who says she was drugged and gang-raped while working for military contractor KBR in Iraq will face down an attorney for KBR in a Texas courtroom today.
Jamie Leigh Jones, now 26, was working her fourth day on the job in Baghdad in 2005 when she says she was assaulted by seven U.S. contractors and held captive by two KBR guards in a shipping container. Jones, whose story was featured in an award-winning ABC News "20/20" investigation, is one of a group of women who claim they were harassed or assaulted while working for KBR and former parent company Halliburton in Iraq. She is suing KBR, former parent company Halliburton and KBR firefighter Charles Bortz, who she claims was one of the rapists.
Jones, who took the stand for the first time Thursday, testified Tuesday that she was "scared to death" the morning after she was attacked, and said she was held against her will without food or water by KBR officials when she reported the alleged assault. "As I'm banging on the door, I say, 'I need to get out of here. I need to contact my dad,'" testified Jones.
Jones said she woke up that morning with no memory of what had happened after a night of drinking, but then began "putting the pieces together."
"I knew I had been raped," said Jones tearfully.
Bortz, who was never criminally charged, has denied raping Jones, and has countersued. His attorney cross-examined Jones Monday, questioning her about her sexual history and suggesting that her liaison with Bortz was consensual. He also said she had offered differing versions of how the alleged rape occurred. Jones denied that the sex was consensual.
KBR's attorneys, representing both KBR and former parent company Halliburton, are expected to begin their cross-examination of Jones today.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for KBR said the company is proud of its work in Iraq, takes employee safety "very seriously" and looks forward to establishing the true facts of Jones's claims at trial.
"Ms. Jones and her lawyers have made many different and varied assertions," said the spokesperson. "Ms. Jones and her counsel are not what they claim and KBR is not what they assert."
Attorneys for Jones declined comment on the specifics of their clients' testimony. "We are proud to be representing a woman who is brave enough to put her personal life in front of a jury in an effort to seek justice," said attorney Stephanie Morris.
KBR, which split from Halliburton in 2007, has extensive contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jones's attorney Todd Kelly, who has so far represented five former KBR employees who have alleged sexual assault or harassment, told ABC News in April that in all about 40 women have contacted his office about alleged incidents that occurred while they were working overseas for KBR or at one of its facilities.