Then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced, on July 14, 2014, the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA), designed to ensure that government employees and contractors working overseas can be prosecuted for criminal acts they commit abroad. His committee had heard testimony from Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20 year old woman from Texas who took a job with Halliburton/KBR in Iraq in 2005. Jones testified that, during her first week in Iraq, she was drugged and gang-raped by coworkers. Haliburton/KBR, she said, moved her into a locked trailer when she reported this assault. She testified that she was kept by armed guards and freed only when the State Department intervened.
Jones, when she signed her employment contract, agreed to binding arbitration, thereby forfeited her rights to a jury trial. But about what Jones signed:
I didn’t even know that I had signed such a clause, but even if I had known, I would never have guessed that it would prevent me from bringing my claims to court after being brutally sexually harassed and assaulted. I had no idea that the clause was part of the contract, what the clause actually meant, or that I would eventually end up in this horrible situation.
Yet Jones signed the contract. I guess Jones never heard of reading a document before signing it.
About arbitration, Leahy said:
There is no rule of law in arbitration. There are no juries or independent judges in the arbitrations industry. There is no appellate review. There is no transparency. And… [for] Jamie Leigh Jones there is no justice.
Despite signing an arbitration agreement, Jones got a court case in Houston, TX, in 2011. But…
After fighting for four years to reach the inside of a courtroom, Jamie Leigh Jones has lost her rape and sexual harassment lawsuit against military contractor KBR. After a day and a half of deliberations, a federal jury in Houston answered “no” to the question of whether Jones was raped by former firefighter Charles Bortz while working in Iraq in 2005. It also found that KBR did not engage in fraud in inducing Jones to sign her employment contract to go overseas.
The trial highlighted several discrepancies in her story. The federal trial judge threw out large portions of her case. Evidence introduced raised the question of whether Jones has exaggerated and embellished key aspects of her story. Jones claimed in her lawsuit as well as in congressional testimony that she was the “subject of a brutal sexual attack by several attackers.” There was no eyewitness testimony or other physical evidence in the case supporting the allegation that Jones was attacked by multiple people. A lab analysis of the rape kit shows DNA from a single man. After reporting the alleged attack to a KBR co-worker, who drove Jones to the Army hospital, she was examined by a doctor, who took urine and blood samples, which tested negative for Rohypnol or any other date-rape drug. Testimony undermined Jones’ credibility and created doubts in jurors’ minds. Based on the evidence presented in court, Jones probably made up all allegations.
The extensive injuries Jones claimed to have suffered, including torn pectoral muscles and damage to her breast implants, weren’t in the medical reports taken by the Army doctor who examined her after the alleged rape, nor did Jones mention those injuries to her doctor at home. Jones did have to get her breast implants fixed, but the evidence at trial suggests it was for unrelated reasons. Under questioning, Jones denied ever having claimed to have been gang-raped, even though her extensive media appearances say otherwise.
In the Rahm Emanuel (You never let a serious crisis go to waste) school of Public Relations, Democrats lined up to support Jones. Her charges seemed to confirm the worst about the war in Iraq – whose key promoter, Dick Cheney, was a former Halliburton CEO. She was invited on a host of news shows to tell her story. Then-Senator Hillary Clinton called for an investigation. And Senator Al (Stuart Smalley) Franken got legislation passed as a result of her lies.
And (at least) one liberal web site got in on the action. In a slate.com article (referenced above) entitled “Jamie Leigh Jones Probably Lied About Her Rape. That Doesn’t Mean Most Women Do.”, Amanda Marcotte, the author, writes:
Mencimerseems annoyed that Jones’ fake case led to real legislation protecting the rights of rape accusers, and that politicians who voted against that legislation were, in her words, “vilified.” But the law that resulted from the situation, which forces these cases out of corporate arbitration and into court, is still good legislation.
Yeah, good legislation based on fake testimony. Only a liberal could say that.
Despite the fact that Jones’ claims subsequently proved in open court to be false, Leahy proceeded anyway. And Democrats wonder why they lost massively in November 2014.
Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer