Panel wants DOJ’s take on rape claim

first_imgThe suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, claims Jones lived in a coed barracks and, after enduring harassment from some of the men in the quarters, was drugged and raped July 28, 2005. Her attackers were Halliburton and KBR firefighters, the suit claims. The petition says the facility was under direct control of the U.S. government, KBR and Halliburton, collectively. Jones’ attorney, L. Todd Kelly, declined to say where Jones was living now because she fears for her safety. He declined to elaborate. Jones’ Web site highlights her nonprofit foundation to help fellow contract workers who may have been sexually assaulted, and displays her “therapeutic” still-life paintings that she offers to paint on commission. The site also mentions a screenplay of her story in Iraq. In a statement, KBR said it couldn’t comment on specifics of the case but that the safety and security of its employees were its top priority. Halliburton says it is improperly named in the matter and expects to be dismissed from the case. “It would be inappropriate for Halliburton to comment on the merits of a matter affecting only the interest of KBR,” the oil-field-services company said in a statement. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who signed Conyers’ letter, sent his own inquiry to Mukasey on Monday. He said Jones’ father contacted his office after the alleged rape and said his daughter reported KBR/Halliburton was holding her in a shipping container without food and water. Poe said he then contacted the State Department, which dispatched agents to rescue Jones.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champConyers also seeks clarification on a statement from KBR, the military contractor that split from Halliburton in April, that says it had initiated investigations into the alleged assault but later halted the probe. KBR has said it was “instructed to cease by government authorities because they were assuming sole responsibility for the criminal investigations.” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said Tuesday that the agency was reviewing Conyers’ letter. “The department is investigating this matter, and because it’s an ongoing investigation we are unable to comment further,” Carr said. Jones’ case got renewed attention this week after ABC News previewed a report of the allegations it plans to air on “20/20” next month. Jones began working for KBR as an administrative assistant in 2004 when she was 19, but later transferred to Iraq with another Halliburton subsidiary, according to her lawsuit. HOUSTON – The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department on Tuesday to give a full account of its investigation into the alleged rape of a female contract worker in Iraq two years ago. Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Conroe resident, filed a federal lawsuit in May against Halliburton Co., its former subsidiary, KBR Inc., and others, saying she was raped by co-workers while working for a Halliburton subsidiary at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005. The Associated Press usually does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Jones’ face and name have been broadcast by ABC News and appear on her own Web site. In a letter dated Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey whether his office had investigated Jones’ claims and whether the Justice Department has jurisdiction to prosecute under military provisions of the USA Patriot Act. last_img read more

GOP Candidates for US Senate Debate Abortion Social Issues

first_imgRepublican Senate candidates debate social issuesThe three Republicans vying to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Begich met today in an Eagle River church to debate social issues in a forum sponsored by Alaska Family Action. All three took anti-abortion, conservative positions but, judging by the applause, this was Joe Miller’s crowd.Download AudioMiller doesn’t believe in exceptions to an abortion ban, even when a woman becomes pregnant as a result  rape or incest.“This is the barometer of ‘We the people,’” he said. “Are we going to protect the most defenseless, or are we going to give platitudes?”The audience at Community Covenant Church cheered and applauded.Mead Treadwell says the issue is personal with him.“My mom got pregnant in college. Abortion was available then, but I stand in front of you today because mom and dad chose life, and I thank god every day that she did,” Treadwell said.Treadwell says abortion should only be allowed if both the mother and baby would otherwise die. Dan Sullivan says he would allow a rape and incest exception.“That does not mean I’m supportive of abortions in those situations, but because they’re such horrendous situations and support for the victim in those kind of situations of rape and incest is also very important, from my perspective that’s something that the family should be making the decision on,” Sullivan said.Miller had the other two on the defensive for blocking an anti-abortion initiative in state government. Lt. Gov. Treadwell and Sullivan, a former state attorney general, say the measure they ruled against conflicted with existing law.“Was that a hard decision to make? Yeah,” Sullivan said. “Did I feel I had fidelity to the law? What I was supposed to do as attorney general? Yes. Sometimes these are difficult choices.”Treadwell challenged Miller to draft a better initiative than the one he had to turn down.“If it passes muster, that initiative could move forward, but Joe, you just can’t criticize people for following the law,” Treadwell said.”We followed the law!”Miller had a ready response: “You know, we’ve heard that argument before, ‘I was just following orders.’”The candidates all says they are against amnesty for illegal immigrants, against allowing gay marriage and against legislation that would roll back the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Miller is running far behind the other two in the polls, and in campaign contributions. In his closing statement, though, he suggested those present give to the family of Rick Shields, a Palmer conservative activist who died a few days ago. Miller, who says he’s the only non-millionaire in the race, managed to turn the plea into a subtle dig at his rivals.“Of course, Dan doesn’t need your money, and Mead’s spending his own, and you know that my campaign functions on sweat equity. But please don’t give to our campaigns today. If you came here with a checkbook to write out to one of these candidates give it to the Shields,” Miller said.During Treadwell’s closing statement, Miller supporters passed out a two-year-old press release from the ACLU highlighting that Treadwell allowed transgender Alaskans to change the gender category on their drivers’ licenses.This was a pre-Primary debate, so Democrat Mark Begich wasn’t represented. His campaign issued a written statement afterward characterizing the forum as contest “over who would be most effective at denying women access to birth control or cutting funding for women’s reproductive health services.”last_img read more