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ABC News

Sexual Assault Charges for Former Iraq Contractor

Iraq Sex Crimes Prosecutions Rare, Experts Say

Gina Sunseri and Justin Rood

(ABC News)

Federal prosecutors have charged a former KBR employee with sexually assaulting a female co-worker in Iraq last year.

Charles Breda, 34, of Pearland, Texas, was arrested last week and charged with abusive sexual contact of another employee of Texas-based government contracting giant KBR in October 2008 at Camp Al Asad. Breda, who left KBR earlier this year, was arrested last week at a Houston-area barber college. He has pled not guilty. He appeared in court Wednesday for a detention hearing.

KBR hired the musclebound Breda in 2007 to work in a gym for government personnel in Iraq.

In sometimes-graphic testimony in a Houston federal courtroom Wednesday, Naval Criminal Investivative Service agent Kelly Barcino described how Breda's alleged victim said Breda forced himself on her. After helping move her into new quarters, Breda tried to kiss the woman, exposed his penis, and pushed the alleged victim onto the bed, according to Barcino's testimony.

"KBR immediately reported the allegations of assault against Mr. Breda to the NCIS and cooperated fully with their investigation," said KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne in an emailed statement Wednesday. "KBR in no way condones or tolerates unethical or illegal behavior. The safety and security of our employees, subcontractors and customers is our top priority."

Thursday morning, Breda's attorney Roderick White said that "it wouldn't be appropriate for me right now to comment on the specific facts of the case."

Present at Wednesday's hearing was Jamie Leigh Jones, a former KBR employee who alleged in 2007 she had been a victim of a gang rape while working in Baghdad. No charges were ever brought in her case, although a 20/20 investigation of her story brought worldwide attention to the plight of sexually assaulted U.S. workers in war zones.

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