Truck driver tells Congress she was raped in Iraq

| 4/10/2008

Two women testified before a U.S. Senate subcomittee investigating new rape allegations involving KBR employees in Iraq.

One witness, Mary Beth Kineston – who worked as a truck driver in Iraq with her husband in 2004 – has testified that she was sexually assaulted by KBR employees while she was over there.

Another witness, Dawn Leamon, who was a paramedic for KBR employees at a small base in southern Iraq, came forth publicly to testify that she was a rape victim, too.

The Associated Press reported that a woman who had made similar allegations before Congress last year listened and fought back tears. Jamie Leigh Jones had told a House committee she was raped by KBR/Halliburton co-workers and held for a day in a shipping container after she reported the 2005 assault.

In truck driver Kineston’s testimony, she said she was the victim of two sexual assaults while in Iraq. The first attack happened in the cab of her truck while she was at the Tigris River pumping station.

She said she also suffered numerous incidents of harassment from her co-workers, both before and after the alleged assaults. She also testified that when she tried to report the incidents to management at KBR, she was either ignored or disciplined as a result.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, who chaired the hearing said he has been pressuring federal agencies to address this problem since last fall. An ABC News story said he wants to find out “whether the law is being obeyed and, if not, what to do about it.”

Defense Department officials have said that the department has investigated 742 sexual assault cases in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Dozens of civilian women have been assaulted, but most cases involved members of the military.