Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Military Mom Says She Was Brutally Raped in Iraq

Military Mom Says She Was Brutally Raped in Iraq

By Maddy Sauer

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Dawn Leamon, who alleges she was raped by two men, will tell her story on Capitol Hill.

Yet another woman has come forward saying she was brutally raped in Iraq while working for the U.S. contractor Kellogg Brown Root (KBR).

Dawn Leamon, who has two sons on active duty, says she was raped earlier this year by a U.S. soldier and a KBR colleague.

She will tell her horrific story to members of Congress today at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Leamon says that following her rape, she spoke with a woman at the KBR Employee Assistance Program. "She discouraged me from reporting, saying, 'You know what will happen if you do,'" Leamon said.

Leamon says KBR then assigned full-time security guards to her which gave her no privacy to talk about the incident, and her movements around camp were restricted, yet her attackers' movements were unrestricted.

"KBR did little or nothing to restore my sense of safety after I reported being raped," said Leamon.

KBR released the following statement to ABC News this morning. "First and foremost, KBR in no way condones or tolerates sexual harassment. Each employee is expected to adhere to the Company's Code of Business Conduct, and when violations occur, appropriate action is taken. Any reported allegation of sexual harassment or sexual assault is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. KBR's top priority is the safety and security of all employees, and our commitment in that regard is unwavering."

Also at today's hearing, for the first time the Department of Justice is slated to answer questions on the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has yet been charged in Leamon's case.

Last December, the department declined to send an official to testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on law enforcement efforts to protect U.S. contractors in Iraq. The hearing featured testimony by Jamie Leigh Jones, a young Texan woman who also says she was gang-raped while working for KBR in Iraq.

Like Jamie Jones, Leamon believes she was drugged before her attack.
In January, several lawmakers pounded the Justice Department for flatly refusing to answer their questions about how sexual assault cases in Iraq involving U.S. citizens are handled. "We still have heard nothing from your office," complained several Democratic senators, including presidential hopeful Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Now, sources says the Justice Department has agreed to send a representative to the Senate hearing entitled, "Closing Legal Loopholes: Justice for Americans Sexually Assaulted in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Meanwhile, Jamie Jones will receive the Susan McDaniel Public Awareness Award at the Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus Awards ceremony. There was a grand jury hearing in Florida concerning her case in January of this year, but no indictment has yet been filed.

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