Smirking Abu Ghraib Torture Girl Can't Escape Stigma

She says she can't get a job waiting tables

By Emily Feldman
|  Monday, Jun 29, 2009  |  Updated 1:00 PM PDT
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Smirking Abu Ghraib Torture Girl Can't Escape Stigma

Lynndie England says she's considered changing her name to escape the stigma she aquired after the famous Abu Ghraib torture pics emerged.

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Lynndie England, seen in notorious Abu Ghraib torture pictures smiling and holding a leash on a prisoner, says her infamy is keeping her from earning a living.

The former U.S. Army Reserve private gave up on the job search after sending out hundreds of resumes. She had one promising lead at a restaurant, but she told The Associated Press that other employees threatened to quit if she were hired. Now, she's supporting her 4-year-old son with welfare and help from her parents.

"Normal moms have jobs. They get up, they take their kids to school, they go to work, they come home, they cook, they clean, they do all that," she says. "I'm home all day."

England was 21 when she posed for pics while holding one naked prisoner by a leash, and pointing at the genitals of another--all the while flashing an unforgettable smile.

Despite spending 18 months in jail for conspiracy, mistreating detainees and committing an indecent act, she still feels like she's being punished by an unforgiving public.

"They think that I was like this evil torturer. ... I wasn't," she said. "People don't realize I was just in a photo for a split second in time."

To fight off the stares and whispers in public, she stays mostly at home and tries to conceal her identity with baseball caps, sunglasses and hair dye. She said she's considered changing her name, but "It's my face that's always recognized, and I can't really change that."

She hopes her biography due out this month show the world a different side of her and help her move on with her life.

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