Last week, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) said on CNN that he did not believe that the gang rape in Iraq of former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones was “an isolated case of assault.” Poe then encouraged “other victims” to contact his office.
In his prepared testimony for the House Judiciary Committee today, Poe said that his office had been contacted by three women other than Ms. Jones about sexual assaults they sustained while working for KBR in Iraq:
Since Jamie has gone public with her experience, my office has heard from 3 other women. Of course, my office will furnish the names of these women to the Judiciary Committee if needed.
Poe named one of the women, Tracy Barker, “who says that she was sexually assaulted in Iraq by a State Department employee who still works at the State Department today.” ABC News identified the State Department employee as Ali Mokhtare, whom the Justice Department “declined to prosecute,” despite “a recommendation from the State Department that he be charged.
Regarding the other two women, Poe said that “they both report sexual assaults and sexual harrassment by their coworkers.” He also said that one of the women asserted that KBR not only protected an accused rapist, but also punished her for contacting Army MPs about the situation:
The 2 other women are also former KBR employees. They both report sexual assaults and sexual harassment by their coworkers in Iraq and neither woman has seen any federal law enforcement action. One of the women informed my office that she was molested several times and raped once by her KBR coworkers. When she reported the crime to her immediate supervisor, she was told that they would take care of it. She returned to work two days later and found her rapist working alongside of her. She panicked and called Army MPs, who escorted the rapist off of the base. However, she was subsequently fired. It seems that, unfortunately, Jamie’s case is not unique.
In her testimony today, Jones said that her job had also been threatened. KBR supervisors told her there was “no guarantee of a job,” either in Iraq or back in Houston, if she didn’t “stay and get over it.”
The Gavel has some video clips from the hearing here.
UPDATE: The Justice Department “refused to send a representative to answer questions” today, which Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) called “an absolute disgrace.”
UPDATE II: Jamie Leigh Jones says she has been contacted by 11 other women who have also been assaulted by contractors in Iraq.