U.S. Army report: Vanessa Guillen reported sexual harassment twice, but superiors took no action

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Juan Cruz, boyfriend of Army soldier Vanessa Guillén, kneels in front of a mural honoring her Sunday, July 5, 2020, in Houston. Army investigators have identified the body of a soldier who vanished more than two months ago from a base in Texas, according to a lawyer for the soldier’s family. Remains found last week buried near Fort Hood belong to Guillén and Army officials informed her family in Houston Sunday, attorney Natalie Khawam told The Associated Press. (Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(KWKT) – The U.S. Army released its findings Friday of an investigation into the events surrounding the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood.

Guillen died on April 22, 2020, killed by Spc. Aaron Robinson, officials believe. Investigators said in the report that Robinson managed to flee thanks to a series of missteps and fatally shot himself.

Among the report’s findings, investigators say Guillen was sexually harassed and reported it on two separate occasions. They say Guillen’s leaders failed to take appropriate action and that the allegations were not moved up the chain of command.

Investigators also say Robinson did not harass Guillen, but that he did sexually harass another soldier between April 2019 to September 2019.

Authorities believe Robinson bludgeoned Guillen to death in April of 2020, transporting her body in a large cargo box off the base before dismembering her and setting fire to her remains.

The report does say that Fort Hood leadership conducted a well-coordinated search for Spc. Guillen after her disappearance, determining quickly that likely didn’t leave voluntarily.

After finding her remains on the evening of June 30, the Army held Robinson but “poor communication” allowed him to flee a conference room and leave the base, killing himself before investigators could find him.

According to the report, the acting senior commander of Fort Hood also misjudged the significance of Spc. Guillen’s disappearance and was overly reluctant to engage the media, misjudging how big of an event it would become. Her disappearance prompted a search that would garner national headlines and social media attention for months.

By the time Fort Hood reversed course, the investigators say the post had lost the trust of the Guillen family and damaged the trust, confidence, and reputation of Fort Hood and the U.S. Army.

You can read the full report here:

Gen. Michael X. Garrett, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command directed the relief of five current or former leaders in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. Three of them will also receive general officer memorandums of reprimands.

Gen. Garrett also directed Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of III Corps, to take further action against seven other additional officers and non-commissioned officers. An eighth non-commissioned officer will be handled by a separate command. All will also receive General Officer Memorandums of Reprimands.

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