HOUSTON — A Texas woman tearfully told jurors Monday that she was "scared to death" and held against her will by her employer after being drugged and sexually assaulted in Iraq at the hands of co-workers for military contractor KBR Inc.
Jamie Leigh Jones, 26, is one of several women who worked for KBR and former parent Halliburton Co. who say they were sexually assaulted or harassed while working for the companies in Iraq.
Jones says she was raped in 2005 while working for KBR at Camp Hope, Baghdad. She has sued KBR, Halliburton and a former KBR firefighter, Charles Bortz, whom she says was one of her rapists. The Houston-based companies and Bortz deny Jones' allegations.
Bortz's attorney tried to discredit Jones' claims by suggesting to jurors that she has a history of making false accusations of sexual harassment. Bortz, who has not been charged, filed a countersuit against Jones that the jury also will decide at the trial.
Jones said she is unable to name her other alleged attackers because of her limited memory of the incident.
During her often tearful testimony, Jones said she had been drinking with a group of KBR firefighters outside her barracks before she was raped.
The Associated Press usually doesn't identify people alleging sexual assault, but Jones' face and name have been in media reports and she has promoted her case on her own website.
"One of the firefighters, he handed me the drink. He said, `Don't worry I saved all the ruffies for Dubai," Jones testified, referring to the sedative Rohypnol, widely known as a "date-rape drug. She says it was used to drug her before the attack.
Jones said she woke up the next morning in her room and discovered she was naked, sore and had bruises and scratches on her thighs and wrists.
She said he had no memory of what happened to her. She said she found Bortz in the room with her and he told her that they had had sex the night before.
"I was putting the pieces together. I knew I had been raped," Jones said as she cried.
Jones' suit claims she was raped in her room by Bortz and several other firefighters.
She told jurors she later had a friend take her to get medical treatment.
Jones testified that after being examined by a military doctor, several KBR officials were crass toward her and tried to bully her into giving a statement about what happened, then locked her in a trailer watched over by armed guards with no food or water or way to call her family.
"I'm scared to death. I want my dad. He's my protector," Jones said. "As I'm banging on the door, I say I need to get out of here. I need to contact my dad."
Jones said she eventually contacted her father, who called U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who helped to secure her release.
She testified she's been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, takes medications for anxiety and had to have reconstructive surgery for her breasts, which were disfigured in her attack.
Jones has said she asked to be transferred to Iraq after being sexually harassed by a KBR supervisor in Houston. She said she entered into a sexual relationship with the supervisor for fear of losing her job.
But Andrew McKinney, Bortz's attorney, suggested when he questioned Jones that her relationship with the ex-supervisor was consensual, showing jurors emails in which Jones asked her mother about relationship advice related to the supervisor. Jones said she never told her mother the true nature of the relationship.
"The things I had to do to keep my job I hate myself for," Jones said as she cried.
McKinney, who questioned Jones about her sexual and family history, also suggested to jurors that her story could be doubted because she has told different versions of how the alleged rape took place and that what happened between Jones and Bortz was consensual because they had talked about Bortz breaking up with his girlfriend.
"It wasn't consensual," Jones said.
KBR's attorneys had not yet questioned Jones, who was to return to the witness stand for a third day of testimony on Tuesday.
The U.S. state department investigated the incident before it was turned over to a federal grand jury in Florida, where Bortz is from. The grand jury was not asked to return an indictment.
Jones told jurors that after her rape she started a foundation for other contract workers who also have been sexually assaulted while working abroad.
"I wanted them to have a refuge," she said.
Jones' attorneys have accused KBR and Halliburton of having a history of failing to protect workers who were sexually assaulted or harassed. The companies say they enforce rules against sexual harassment.
KBR and Halliburton were unsuccessful in having Jones' case settled through arbitration as stipulated in her contract.
Due in part to Jones' case, federal lawmakers in 2009 approved a measure prohibiting contractors and subcontractors that receive $1 million in funds from the Department of Defense from requiring employees to resolve sexual assault allegations and other claims through arbitration.
Jones is asking for unspecified damages from KBR and Halliburton, which split in 2007.