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How Women Won the KBR Rape Case

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Whatever the outcome of the Jamie Leigh Jones trial, victims of sexual assault may now get their days in court.

Jamie Leigh Jones

Pema Levy – (The American Prospect) – July 11, 2011 – In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones went to work in Baghdad’s Green Zone for KBR, then an engineering and construction subsidiary of the defense contractor Halliburton. Upon arrival, she was placed in co-ed barracks where the ratio of men to women was 20 to 1. Four days later, Jones said that she was slipped the date-rape drug Rohypnol and gang raped by fellow KBR employees. When she reported the crime, Halliburton locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours without food or water, and barred her from contacting anyone outside.

Last month, Jones’ case against KBR employee Charles Boartz for rape and against KBR for knowingly sending her into a hostile work environment finally went to trial. On Friday, a jury found Boartz and KBR not guilty.

Jones’s story won the sympathies of millions; she now has a contract for both a book and movie, and was prominently featured last month in HBO’s Hot Coffee, a documentary about the corporate campaign to restrict access to the justice system. But at trial, Jones’ story fell apart. As Stephanie Mencimer reported in Mother Jones last week, KBR found experts and evidence that cast doubt on large portions of Jones’ story. Jones claimed, for example, that she had two sips of a drink and doesn’t remember anything else, but KBR dug up a report in which she admitted to having five drinks. No evidence of Rohypnol was found in blood tests. Jones also alleged her breast implants were ruptured by the violent assault, but the doctor who treated her the next day said this wasn’t true either. The allegation that there were multiple attackers was thrown out for lack of evidence, and prosecutors brought up that Jones had reported being raped twice in the past and had taken drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

It is difficult to know what really happened, and the alleged attacker’s acquittal brings us no closer to the truth. But one thing is clear: While Jones lost her court case, the fact that she got a trial is a win for victims of sexual assault who, like her, had been denied their day in court.

Jones’ trial was about rape, but her story is about companies eroding access to the justice system. In the last several years, Jones had become the poster child for the fight against what are called “mandatory arbitration clauses” in employment and consumer contracts. The clauses, which employees rarely think twice about before signing the contract, require employees to settle their grievances against the company in arbitration tribunals instead of going to court. As opposed to court proceedings, which are public, arbitration is a private, secret process in which a judge hired by the company adjudicates. There is no appeals process, and the results are generally kept under lock and key. Increasingly, anything from employment to cell phone contracts contain mandatory arbitration clauses that block access to the courts. It’s estimated that 75 percent of non-union workers have binding arbitration clauses in their contracts, and that the majority of major companies—from hospitals to credit cards—have them as well.

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29 Comments

  1. Comment by Former USMI Employee:

    Well no kidding. We all knew this movie deal was coming.

    Maybe we should do one called “The Rest of the Story”.

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      She has a story to tell and I hope she tells it. Maybe it should be called “What the jury didn’t hear!” I just wonder how much Bortz was paid by KBR to drop his suit against Jamie so the jury didn’t hear about his violent history.

      • Comment by Iraqi TrUcker:

        your evidence of KBR paying him off and proof he had a violent history is where? just curious!

        • Comment by gonewild99:

          I am sure there is none remember this is a Blog they can make a lot of accusations and get away with it.

          When they can not prove what they say, they fill in the blanks whith what they want you to believe.

          Then they bask in the pleasure of ruining peoples reputations.

          Knowing full well what the did was wrong

          Just my opinion

          you will have to make up your own mind on what is right or wrong.

        • Comment by Ms Sparky:

          His arrest record is the proof of his violent history.

  2. Comment by Former USMI Employee:

    Iraq Trucker – Sparky isnt interested in the facts. No one that testified at the trial was paid by KBR.

  3. Comment by victoria:

    The facts are that the jury found the allegations as false.

    This is a major hit for attorney L. Todd Kelly moving forward.

    His brand is now a disaster-big time

    This is the 3rd time and final time that Jamies false allegations have been rejected.

    We doubt that any studio or book company will have any interest in her fables–ever

    L. Todd Kelly and his discredited client are now facing the end of their respective careers.

    There is a rule among investors and gamblers

    ” never take a bet so big that if you lose then you can never take a bet ever again”

    L. Todd Kelly just lost the bet of his life.

    • Comment by Curious:

      Kind of harsh, don’t you think Victoria? I have to agree with one thing and that is based on the e-mails, the being locked up in a shipping container with armed guards (by KBR?), the mutilation of private parts and other debatable issues he and the firm have taken a major black-eye and financial loss. Unfortunately, this will be used by KBR litigation team on the pending Mayo case if it even gets to court. I’ve never quite understood why this ever became a cause célèbre type case with any attention but at least the Franken Act was borne in some part to the issue whether it was true or false. Court spoke and put it to rest.

      • Comment by Former USMI Employee:

        Curious – She lied. No one locked her in a shipping container, there were no armed guards, there was no mutilation. The employees at Camp Hope went out of their way to help her. KBR initiated an investigation, the State Dept told them to stand down, and it was the State Dept that completed and finished the investigations. KBR didnt hide anything.

  4. Comment by Concerned Citizen:

    This article has some of the facts about Jamie wrong, but the main point is solid: thanks to Jamie risking her reputation to come forward, and the Kelly Law Firm & her other attorney for believing in the rights of women and employees, now violent cases can be brought out into light of scrutiny in the courtroom, instead of hid away in the darkness of secretive arbitration rooms.

    The impact of this is staggering, and her lawyers held their own in going up against a team of a dozen Halliburton lawyers who had unlimited funds at their disposal (your tax dollars) and have over a half century experience defending this particular company from hundreds — thousands — of cases. (Yes, they had in house lawyers who have been with the company for decades, as well as external lawyers.)

    I, for one, would hire the Kelly Law firm for any legal need I had, from rape to murder. Certainly now if my case was against a large corporation or contractor. People like those at the Kelly Law Firm are few and far between: they TRULY care. And, now they understand the low down tricks that Halliburton’s lawyers stoop to.

    During my own arbitration case years ago, my lawyer, who had tried high profile cases before, said she had NEVER encountered the meanness, vileness and manipulation of Halliburton’s lawyers. Everyone deserves representation. But think about the kind of people who choose to stand up for the Billion dollar corporations, as opposed to the poor victims. It WAS a gamble to take a case that had little physical evidence to prove their case. Date Rape victims don’t often win. And they probably spend a million dollars, or more over 5 years. But they didn’t try to persuade her to settle just to earn a buck, like most lawyers do. They stood by her threw thick and thin. They lost money, but they didn’t lose an ounce of their integrity, compassion or goodness. That’s who I want to represent me: people I can completely trust. How many have lawyers they can say that about?

    So many of us are proud of you, Todd Kelly and Partners!

    • Comment by gingerspice:

      The Kelly Law Firm had notice of all the facts and yet they chose to believe a mentally disturbted woman who know who to work the system. She didn’t work for five years because she was being paid by KBR’s worker’s comp. She lives in a very nice house paid for by KBR. She got her education from KBR. She owes a big thank you to KBR. And an apology for false accusations.

  5. Comment by Curious:

    I’d like to agree however, there is already going out of business signs being put up for both Kelly’s firm and Jones “so-called “Foundation”. Jamie herself has abandoned her “Foundation” and yet to comment or advertise the verdict of justice or injustice (depending your point of view) or side you are on.

    The fact of the matter is simply Halliburton/KBR hired some of the lowest levels of employees (some other legitimate professionals with credentials like certified electricians, plumbers, managers etc.) but the majority of employees were “scum” who were let in from the Leesville area and were the one’s who made the issues of being wronged. This is the basic truth to the matter.

    How many gang bangers, white trash out of a trailer parks, who were Wal-Mart workers and than made it “big” and come to the promise land, only to be discovered as lazy frauds, bums, felonists, pedophiles, tax cheats etc. and finally get fired and then turn it around to claim they were wronged by the big money eating machine called Halliburton.

    No, you were probably one in many of the losers who felt you were done a disservice after you realized you would never have it so good. Are you from downtown Houston Citizen or a small part of LA close to Charles Port or Leesville?

    • Comment by Former USMI Employee:

      As a former KBR employee I am proud of the work I did. I am not a gang banger, no jail record, not white trash. Simply a hard working US Citizen working as a contractor for the US Military.

      Jamie on the other hand will most likely do a movie on her 4 days in Iraq. But then even her attorney admits it is a “work of fiction”.

      • Comment by Optimus Prime:

        curious, you can go straight to hell. You are stereotyping a lot of people who worked for KBR including myself. Personally, I have worked for KBR over 20 years with 7 of those on RIO, PCO OIL, MERO and finally the LOGCAP III project. I came up through the ranks from a medic way back in 1989 to a manager with KBR since 2001 in a stateside project. A lot of folks including myself busted their asses for this company. A lot of the folks, unfortunately, were just lazy bastards and just rode the clock, but the majority of the folks worked their asses off to get energon every month. Before you start popping off – think about what you are saying. Roll out

        • Comment by Optimus Prime:

          Oh yeas, Jamie Jones….Hmm….no comment. The justice system seems to have holes. Maybe she was raped, maybe not. The jury ruled and made its decision. Now its over. Same with Caylee Anthony, the jury ruled now we have to suck it up and a child killer goes loose. I hope if they make a book or movie that they make sure and get the facts right. if they depict any form of rape, since KBR has been vindicated and no rape was proven, KBR can sue her for slander and throw the book at her for fraud and slander. Just the fact maam…just the facts.

          Like it or not, the American justice system prevailed and this time KBR came out on top so regardless of Sparkie’s opinion, Jamie Jones testimony or anything else…its over. Suck it up and move on. Next subject please.

        • Comment by Curious:

          I don’t know how to comment to your post without using foul language so I will try to refrain myself because some of what you say is true however, RIO/MERO – I wouldn’t take credit for. Otherwise the true KBR folk 9and you know who I mean) are good to go and no problem. I was over in Bosnia years ago and it was a different type of folk. Great people, excellent leadership and true professionals. However, LCIII, MERO/RIO – disasters and scumbags (not all) but quite a few. Like I said, I want to call you out but I’ll bite my tongue for the time being.

        • Comment by Curious:

          Additionally, I wouldn’t be all that proud to have worked for KBR for 20+ years as a “fake” manager in RIO/MERO or LCIII.

          Honestly, it sounds like you are one of “those people” who have given KBR black-eye and needs a swift kick in the behind. I bet you were one of the pretend managers with KBR when Jamie had her problems and were ill prepared on what to do. I mean – you started as a Medic and became a manager? Through KBR U? Be proud of yourself Optimus Prime, be very proud.

          • Comment by Optimus Prime:

            Ok you can screw yourself. I am not afraid to say what I think. I may get moderated but I will take my chances. Here is the deal.

            My background in the real world is a journeyman brick/block mason and also working on a farm since I was old enough to walk.

            I worked as a medic on my 1st KBR project in Kentucky in 1989. I moved around the southeast USA with KBR in paper mills ans refineries and chemical plants moving up from a medical position to safety inspector to Sr. Safety inspector to finally a manager in 2001.

            I took all the OJT I could get and went to several classes and various schools both provided by KBR and on my own. I also worked part time in a volunteer fire department where I became a certified fire fighter and EMT-B. KBR-U…no sir. The only reason I go there is that KBR makes us take mandatory classes there for COBC and other stuff.

            In 2001 I made it up to a manager in a refinery / chemical plant project in Louisiana…not Leesville by the way!!

            My first govt project with KBR was in 2003 at a national park for KBR. We passed an EPA wall to wall audit with no issues in 2003 and operated 27 permitted public water and 3 permitted waste water systems and applied pesticides to trails and also camp grounds. I had to go to school to get my water/waste water training and pesticide applicators license(not paid for by KBR by the way).

            I only went to RIO and overseas because KBR had no work in the states left when that project ended. So – no sir I am not one of “Those People”. I actually work for a living, care about my job and care about the people. I paid my dues over the years you whack job, So screw you and die.

            • Comment by Curious:

              Tough words my friend. Why would you get moderated? The purpose of this forum is to discuss issues and express opinion, isn’t it? Also, why take offense to what I said? Okay, so you are one of the good ones why not leave it at that. You know the other parts of “those people” is correct though. I still like the crack about KBR University. You know there are lot of people who actually printed up their COBC certificates and framed them. We even had one guy put it on his resume for education of all the KBR classes he took on line. You have to admit that’s funny.

          • Comment by Optimus Prime:

            I never met the lady in question, nor was I on the LOGCAP III project when the incident occurred. If she was truly raped, then only God, Jamie and the assailant knows.

            Bottom line, if she was raped and KBR was somehow at fault, then KBR should pay through the nose.The American jury decided that there was not enough evidence.But in this case it wasn’t proven.

            So there it is….next question. Roll out.

  6. Comment by Jamie D:

    Her “breast implants” were ruptured? Did she have breast implants because of a medical reason? This woman turned out to be quite the story teller didn’t she? Never mind HER reputation, what about the men that supposedly “raped” her? Lets recap; an attractive woman with fake boobs, surrounded by hundreds of men, in an environment where she is one of the very FEW women and the booze is flowing, Hmmmm………………..I guess she thought they just wanted to play cards with her, be one of the BOYS, huh? Me and all MY boys have fake boobs too!! We compare em at softball games. Once again I am in no way condoning RAPE, but she’s a lying ………

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      Not condoning rape? But you did elude to the fact she was asking for it. So from now on we should only send flat chested, overweight middle aged women to the Middle East? Seriously….

  7. Comment by Former USMI Employee:

    Jamie D was not condonng assault or rape. Dont make yourself a target. Another fact you dont admit too was the fact the jury said she wasnt raped.

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