Iraqi women sexually mistreatment at US base

Baghdad, April 23: A number of female Iraqi interpreters have accused an American contractor of sexually harassment at a base in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.

The women said Friday that Christopher J. Kirchmeier, then 26, who worked as a contractor in charge of security badges and clearances at a base inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, sexually harassed them in 2009, The Washington Post reported.

Kirchmeier’s superiors at L-3 Communications and in the military knew of his behavior for several months but did nothing about it, according to the interpreters and an army officer who supports their claims of harassment.

Advocates for the women want the US authorities to try Kirchmeier and punish him and his superiors at L-3. They also tried to persuade the US State Department to reverse its decision barring one of the women from the United States.

The interpreters and Kirchmeier’s former colleagues have said that he punished those who rejected his advances by seizing their security badges and sabotaging their US visa applications.

His alleged conduct was a violation of L-3’s ethics code, which says “physical conduct of a sexual nature is inappropriate in the work place and may be unlawful.”