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Iraq rape allegation gets congressional hearing

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  • Woman alleges Halliburton/KBR co-workers drugged, raped her in Iraq
  • "Boys will be boys" attitude partly to blame, woman's lawsuit says
  • KBR has said woman's claims are "without merit"
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(CNN) -- A House panel on Wednesday heard a woman's accusations that she was drugged and raped by co-workers at a contracting firm in Iraq two years ago.

Jamie Leigh Jones appears before a House subcomittee Wednesday.

The woman, Jamie Leigh Jones, is suing her former employer, Halliburton Co., and its former subsidiary, KBR Inc.; her alleged attackers; and the U.S. government.

Jones' federal lawsuit claims that a KBR representative, after the alleged gang rape, placed her in a trailer without access to food, water or a phone with which to call her family.

Later, according to the lawsuit, KBR officials gave Jones two options: Stay and "get over it," or return home without the "guarantee" of a job in return.

Jones' allegations are "without merit," KBR said.

"KBR remains committed to providing a safe working environment for all employees," the company said in a statement.

Jones' lawsuit said the alleged rape was the culmination of mistreatment that included being forced into a sexual relationship with a supervisor. The suit also said the assault "never would have occurred but for the 'boys will be boys' attitude that permeated the environment."

Jones said Monday that the alleged rape occurred on her fourth night in Iraq, at the U.S.-controlled Camp Hope in Baghdad. She said she had met with some of her co-workers, one of whom gave her a drink. She says she believes it was laced with the date-rape drug Rohypnol.

"After two drinks, I went blank," Jones said.

The woman said she awoke the next morning, still feeling the effects of the drug, with bruises on her inner thighs, stomach and wrists.

"I was hurting so bad," Jones said. Video Watch Jones describe what she says happened »

A U.S. Army medic treated her, Jones said, and then called KBR security. She was taken to an Army hospital.

"They confirmed that I was raped in more ways than one," Jones said. A rape kit was completed and turned over to KBR security, she added.

Jones' attorney, Todd Kelly, said Monday that KBR has not made the rape kit evidence available.

KBR said it responded to Jones' allegations by placing her in a secure facility, with a company representative offering her counseling, food and an opportunity to call her parents.

Jones calls that assertion "extremely inaccurate."

"The HR woman did not let me get food, she did not let me get a drink, and she did not let me get a cell phone," Jones said.

Jones said a security guard provided her with a cell phone, which she used to call her father. Her father then contacted Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, "to get me out of Iraq," Jones said.

In a statement, KBR said it investigated Jones' allegations but was "instructed to cease by government authorities because they were assuming sole responsibility for the criminal investigations."

The U.S. Justice Department has said it is investigating the case but will not comment further on it, according to The Associated Press.

The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is looking into the case, examining who is responsible for enforcing federal law to protect Americans working for U.S. contractors in Iraq.


The AP reported last week that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee had asked the Justice Department to give a full account of its investigation into the case.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey if Jones' allegations had been investigated, the AP said. Conyers also asked whether the Justice Department has jurisdiction to prosecute under military provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the AP reported. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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