Forty seven women have come forward reporting similar experiences to those recounted by Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang raped by employees of defense contractors Halliburton and KBR. I had previously identified the number at 11, from earlier information in my research; the higher number reflects the more recent numbers who have contacted Jamie Leigh Jones and her Foundation. Just as important is the fact that the Senators who voted no on the Franken Amendment are being held accountable in their home states.
At least two of the women already have had similar court cases challenging the enforcement of arbitration clauses which was the subject of the Franken Amendment, and are mentioned in the May 9, 2008 decision of the Jamie Leigh Jones case in the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.
That decision mentions the similarity of the sexual assault in Cravetz v. Halliburton (Southern District of Florida), and the sexual assault in the case of Barker v. Halliburton (Souther District of Texas). While looking into what I could find on the allegations of sexual assault related to Halliburton and KBR, I also came across a reference to a criminal conviction of David Charles Breda Jr. for the sexual assault of a woman while employed by a KBR subsidiary in Iraq. There is a wonderful web site hosted by the Project on Government Oversight, “POGO”, which maintains a Federal Contractor Misconduct Database that is fascinating reading at www.pogo.org.
The political fallout for those Senators who voted against the “Franken Amendment” has begun, with the first Senator, David Vitter from Louisiana (R), to be confronted by a rape victim in his home state, following a public meeting on health care reform in Baton Rouge on Halloween.
Here is the link to the YouTube video of the encounter:
It could be said that the real life confrontation was potentially far scarier for Vitter, at least politically, than any holiday monsters. It should be interesting to see if this vote against the Franken Amendment is more damaging to Vitter re-election hopes in 2010 than the fallout from his prostitution scandal.
Vitter has earned notoriety for his use of prostitutes, including apparently being phoned by the prostitution ring to set up appointments for their services while he was on the Senate Floor during actual votes, according to correlations between phone records and Senate vote records. Apparently the Senator has an interesting way of mixing business with pleasure, or at least the business of pleasure.
It has been the recent pattern when asked to explain their vote against the Franken Amendment, for the nay-voting Senators to state their opposition to the intent of the Amendment, while misstating the position of the Obama White House which supported the intent, and worked with the Senators sponsoring the Amendment to make it more enforceable and broader.
There is every possibility that there are more victims than the 47 who have now come forward in addition to Jamie Leigh Jones. It will be interesting to see how this plays out between now and the 2010 elections for those Senators, and with the Department of Justice.