Houston jury rejects rape claim by former KBR employee
In a closely-watched case, a Houston jury on Friday rejected the claim of a former employee of military contractor KBR that she had been drugged and raped by a group of co-workers in Iraq.
Jamie Leigh Jones had filed suit against KBR, its former parent company Halliburton, and former co-worker Charles Bortz, whom she named as one of her rapists. All three denied the allegations and Bortz insisted the sex had been consensual. Authorities had previously investigated Jones’ claims but declined to file criminal charges.
Jones acknowledged that she had no memory of the alleged rapes but claimed it was because she had been drugged prior to the assault. She had promoted her own case on her website and had asked for $145 million from KBR for allegedly failing to enforce its sexual harassment policies and not telling her of the danger of rape when she signed her employment contract.
KBR had attempted to keep the case from going to a jury trial, because Jones’ contract required arbitration in the case of workplace disputes, but a federal appeals court had ruled that she had the right to sue in court.
The Associated Press reports that “Jones was sobbing in the courtroom after the verdict was announced.”