June 4, 2010 -- Another female ex-employee of KBR has come forward to claim that she was raped while working for the military contracting company in Iraq.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Houston Wednesday, Anna Mayo was working at KBR's facility in Balad in November 2009 when she was assaulted by an unnamed rapist who worked for KBR. She charges that she was choked unconscious with a rope, beaten and raped. The suit seeks damages from KBR and from KBR subsidiary Service Employees International Inc., the contractor that employed Mayo from 2008 to 2009.
Without releasing the name of the victim, an Army spokesman confirmed that the military has investigated an alleged sexual assault that occurred at the time and place specified in Mayo's suit.
In 2009, Tracy Barker won a $3 million judgment against KBR in arbitration over an alleged sexual assault in 2005 at a KBR-run camp in Iraq. A lawsuit filed by Jamie Leigh Jones alleging that she was gang-raped at a different facility in 2005 is still pending.
Attorney Todd Kelly, who filed the new complaint on behalf of Mayo and also represents Jones, said that up to 20 women have contacted his office alleging sexual harassment or assault while working for the contractor or at KBR installations overseas. "From the stories that I am hearing from the women that are coming back," said Kelly, "and stories that I have heard from men that have reported these incidents, there does not appear to be any change in how KBR treats these victims or disciplines their employees."
KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said that the company takes Mayo's allegations very seriously, and that "a thorough investigation is underway," but that the alleged assailant in the case was not a KBR employee.
Browne said it was inappropriate for the company to comment further on Mayo's allegations because of a pending criminal investigation, but added that KBR "maintains strong and effective sexual harassment prevention and reporting programs."
According to the complaint, Mayo was 26 when she signed a contract with Service Employees International Inc. (SEII) on October 31, 2008.
Beginning Nov. 1, 2008, Mayo lived and worked at Joint Base, Balad, Iraq. She lived in a converted shipping container and worked the night shift at the base.
On Nov. 27, 2009, according to the complaint, she was awakened by a knock at about 10:30 a.m. She allowed a man into her room, believing that he was a maintenance department employee. The man left after a few minutes after allegedly claiming he had checked her bathroom. She reported his visit to the supervisor of the Operations and Maintenance Department, who told her that he was not supposed to have entered her room.
Three days later, the same individual came back, entered her room and began beating her, according to the complaint. He allegedly slammed the door closed when she tried to escape. She fought with him, and bit him, but he allegedly placed a rope around her neck and tightened it until she lost consciousness.
Mayo's complaint says that she woke up to find that she was being raped. The assailant beat her when she tried to crawl away, according to the complaint, tied her hands behind her back and smothered her with his hands and an item of clothing until she passed out again.
The complaint was filed with photos that show bruises and abrasions to Mayo's face, arm and neck. Mayo's attorney, Todd Kelly, said he had spoken to the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID) and that the Army had identified a suspect in the case. The complaint alleges that the unnamed rapist was an employee of KBR -- which KBR denies -- "working in either billeting or maintenance" at the Balad base. He is also referred to in the complaint as an "SCW," or subcontract worker, meaning that he could have been a worker for a company doing contract work for KBR.
Christopher Grey, a spokesman for CID, confirmed that CID had conducted and completed a criminal investigation "into an alleged sexual assault that reportedly happened on 30 Nov. at the Balad base in Iraq." He said he would not confirm names of sexual assault victims and would not confirm the identity of the victim in this alleged incident. Grey said CID had turned over the findings "to the appropriate commander and legal authorities for disposition."
In the cases of Tracy Barker and Jamie Leigh Jones, KBR maintains that the available evidence does not support their claims of sexual assault. KBR's Heather Browne told ABC News in an email in 2009 that "at no time has Ms. Barker's claim of rape ever been confirmed." KBR challenged the award to Tracy Barker and has asked that it be modified.
KBR has also challenged Jamie Leigh Jones's version of events. "There are significant discrepancies between Ms. Jamie Leigh Jones' claims against KBR and the facts pertaining to her allegations," said the company in a statement. The statement said a KBR firefighter has reported having consensual sex with Jones on the night in question, but "is certain" no one else had sexual contact with Jones on that night.
Kelly said he does not believe KBR can assert no assault occurred in the Mayo case because of the photographic evidence and the Army's investigation. "I don't think there's going to be any significant argument that she was not brutally raped."
The lawsuit also names Halliburton, the contracting company that once owned KBR, as a defendant. At one time SEII, Mayo's employer, was a subsidiary of Halliburton. A spokeswoman for Halliburton said that when Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007, SEII was a subsidiary of KBR, and there is no current corporate relationship between Halliburton and SEII.