December 12th, 2007 11:21 EST
KBR Gang Rape, Woman attacked while working for the company in Iraq
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a Houston congressman have asked the Justice Department to fully detail its investigation into a Conroe woman`s claims that she was gang raped while she worked in Iraq two years ago.
Jamie Leigh Jones, of Conroe, is one of two women who reported being attacked while working in Iraq for Halliburton`s former subsidiary KBR in 2005. Jones and a Florida woman said they were raped in living quarters while off-duty.
"These are the worst types of crimes that can happen to a citizen abroad," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, who wrote the letter with Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich. "I think there`s going to be some movement by the Justice Department now that this is in the public domain."
In June, the Houston Chronicle reported that the male suspects in the alleged rapes were not prosecuted.
Poe said Congress could have hearings on the Jones case and others as early as January. In the letter Conyers and Poe sent Tuesday, they ask the Justice Department whether it can investigate and prosecute crimes by U.S. civilians in Iraq under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.
Jones` family called Poe for help after Jones said she was held against her will in a KBR storage unit following the attack at Camp Hope in Baghdad. Investigators freed Jones after Poe contacted the U.S. State Department.
Jones is one of at least four women who have filed federal lawsuits against KBR and its former parent company Halliburton, both based in Houston, following allegations of rape or s*xual harassment.
According to her lawsuit filed in May, Jones awoke with bruises on her body, blood on her genital area and ruptured breast implants after being drugged the night before.
L. Todd Kelly, Jones` attorney, said a rape kit taken after her attack confirmed DNA samples from a man found in her bed as well as multiple unknown males. Kelly said the rape kit was lost after Army investigators turned it over to KBR officials.
"KBR intends to vigorously defend the allegations raised in each case, which we believe are without merit," KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said Tuesday in a prepared statement.
Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in a prepared statement, "Halliburton is improperly named in this matter and, as such, we expect Halliburton to be dismissed from the action as Halliburton has no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the actions alleged."
Halliburton and KBR split earlier this year.
KBR lawyers have asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to dismiss the cases so they can be handled through the company`s Employee Dispute Resolution Program. KBR and Halliburton employees sign contracts in which they agree to resolve disputes and claims against the company through an arbitrator. Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle