HOUSTON – An ex-KBR firefighter told jurors on Thursday he had consensual sex with a Texas woman who says she was drugged and sexually assaulted in Iraq at the hands of co-workers.
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. The alleged sexual assault was investigated by authorities but no criminal charges have been filed.
The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that Bortz, 34, told jurors he and Jones had intercourse in her room after they shared a drink at a party with several other KBR workers. He said the only time Jones asked him to stop was when she became concerned that he already was seeing another woman.
"I told her I was fine, and we continued," Bortz said.
Jones has testified at the trial that she was in shock the morning after the allege rape and couldn't remember what had happened to her because she believes she was drugged with Rohypnol, known as the "date rape drug," just before she was sexually assaulted by several KBR firefighters. Jones said she is unable to name her other alleged attackers because of her limited memory of the incident.
But Bortz, who told jurors he is a trained first responder, said Jones did not seem like she was in shock the next morning.
Bortz's attorneys have told jurors that testing done by the Department of the Army of a urine sample from Jones that was taken within 24 hours of the alleged sexual assault detected no Rohypnol.
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.
Bortz, who has not been charged, said he was not disciplined by the company for the alleged rape and that he quit KBR in May 2006, 10 months after Jones' allegations surfaced. He has filed a countersuit against Jones that the jury also will decide at the trial.
Jones has accused KBR officials of locking her in a trailer after she told them about the rape and not letting her call her family. Her attorneys have also accused KBR of having a long history of not protecting workers who were sexually assaulted or harassed.
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.
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