KBR’s president says Jamie Leigh Jones' story of rape at Halliburton’s company quarters in Baghdad is full of “inaccuracies.”
In a memo circulating to employees of KBR and leaked to ABC News, Bill Utt said his company disputes part of Jones’ version of the story.
22-year-old Jones has alleged several men working as firefighters for Halliburton drugged and raped her in July 2005. In May of this year she filed a civil suit against the defense company and one man whom she can identify. Others attackers remain unidentified.
While Jones has claimed she was held as a prisoner after the rape, in papers filed in March 2006, Halliburton reportedly says one of its human resources employees attended to Jones providing her with food and toiletries and helped her contact her family.
Jones and KBR agree on one point - that an Army doctor administered a rape kit after the alleged assault and that the kit was handed to Halliburton KBR security. The rape kit is now missing.
KBR’s motto is “We Deliver” and the company says it acted properly. Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is a former subsidiary of Halliburton, a global engineering and construction company. The company won a no-bid multi billion dollar contract less than one month before the March 2003 invasion by U.S. forces.
The State Department has handed the investigation into the incident over to the Department of Justice but ABC News which plans an investigative story on the Jones' case says it could find no evidence of any investigation or charges.
Earlier this week U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan publicly inquired whether the Attorney General’s office had followed through on Jones’ claims. Sen. Hillary Clinton has called for a probe into the allegations and the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next Wednesday on Jones’ allegations.
Jones’ lawyer, L. Todd Kelly believes the government is complicit in a cover up telling IB News that the identities of her other assailants have been determined from DNA tests but he has been unable to get their names from the government.
He says he knows of at least nine other women who claim they’ve been assaulted or raped by KBR or Halliburton employees.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) told CNN’s Lou Dobbs he doesn’t believe this is an isolated case.
Meanwhile Florida Senator Bill Nelson is asking the Justice Department about the alleged rape of a Florida woman who also worked for KBR in Iraq in 2005. Writing to Defense Secretary Robert Gates Senator Nelson says “I am deeply troubled by recent reports that at least two women who worked in Iraq under contractor for the Department of Defense were sexually assaulted by male coworkers.”
He wants to know how many rape exams have been conducted by military doctors and what has happened to those investigations.
The now 41-year old woman says she was raped in December 2005 in her living quarter by a drunken KBR co-worker. The unidentified woman filed a civil suit against KBR and Halliburton. The outcome of her case is unknown because it was referred to private arbitration, which is overseen by a mediator chosen by the company and is not open to the public.
Concerning Jone’s case Utt wrote, “we will continue to defend the Company in the legal process and remain committee to ensuring the arbitration process is fair.”
But attorney Kelly wants the Jones’ case to be the first one fully open to public scrutiny.
Public response to this Florida woman’s story is mixed. A response online following this ABC story seems to be making an excuse for the men involved. “What do women think is going to happen to them when they put themselves in a situation such as Iraq? You are putting yourself in harms way, you ARE in a war zone with MEN” the person writes.
Many who follow her response are angry at her “ridiculous statement” and “uneducated statement.”
See a KBR Memo below verified by the Houston Chronicle
TO: All KBR Employees
FROM: Bill Utt, Chairman, President and CEO
SUBJECT: Recent media coverage
There continues to be extensive media coverage regarding litigation involving a former KBR subsidiary employee, Ms. Jamie Jones. As transparency is a KBR core value, I want share with you our perspective of the situation.
First and foremost, KBR in no way condones or tolerates any form of sexual harassment. The safety and security of all employees remains KBR's top priority. That commitment is unwavering. Further, each employee is expected to adhere to KBR's Code of Business Conduct guidelines and when violations occur, immediate and appropriate disciplinary action is taken. Any and all allegations related to inappropriate sexual behavior are taken seriously and are investigated immediately. In response to Ms. Jones' allegations, an investigative process was initiated in Ms. Jones' case and was subsequently taken over by government authorities, in accordance with their procedures.
While the allegations raised by Ms. Jones are serious, after a review of the case KBR noted inaccuracies in the accounts of the incident in question, and disputes portions of Ms. Jones' version of the facts. We have expressed our position in detail to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and some of this information is now public.
We will continue to defend the Company in the legal process and remain committed to ensuring the arbitration process is fair.
Thank you for your continued support of KBR.