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Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed by superior officer at Fort Hood, Army confirms

Vanessa Guillen
Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 16:43:56-04

FORT HOOD, TX — Spc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed by a superior officer during her time at Fort Hood, Army officials revealed Friday afternoon.

The findings were part of an Army investigation conducted by Gen. John Murray, commanding general of Army Futures Command, into the Fort Hood chain-of-command following the soldier's disappearance and death.

“I directed this investigation to identify what happened and to find areas where we needed to improve across our command,” said Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command. “We can and must hold ourselves accountable, learn and improve across all our Army units. To do any less breaks trust with our people and the American public.”

Part of the investigation included a review of Fort Hood's actions from April 22, 2020, to July 1, 2020, under the provisions of Army Regulation 15-6.

According to officials, Spc. Guillen was sexually harassed by a superior non-commissioned officer in her unit.

She informally reported the harassment on two occasions. In both instances, her supervisor failed to report the harassment, and other leaders failed to take appropriate action.

Investigators say there is no evidence that the sexual harassment was related to Spc. Guillen's death. However, according to the report, between April 2019 and September 2019, Spc. Aaron Robinson, who is believed to have killed Spc. Guillen, sexually harassed a different female specialist at Fort Hood. The information was discovered in fall of 2020 during the 15-6 investigation.

Investigators did not find credible evidence to conclude that Spc. Robinson sexually harassed Spc. Guillen or that they had any relationship outside of work.

Investigators also did not find evidence that Spc. Guillen was sexually assaulted.

During the review, officials discovered "inadequate measures" related to the Army's Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program. The report determined soldiers in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and Spc. Guillen's unit were not adequately trained on sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention programs. The programs were also not sufficiently emphasized.

When reviewing the search for Spc. Guillen, investigators determined the 3rd Cavalry Regiment responded "immediately with all available resources upon the discovery that Spc. Guillen was missing on April 22 and determined that her absence was likely not voluntary." The next day, a massive search began for the soldier.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) took over the case on April 24, 2020, and identified Spc. Guillen as a "missing soldier" who disappeared under "unusual" circumstances.

Officials say the 15-6 investigation does not include alleged criminal misconduct connected to Spc. Guillen's disappearance and death. The criminal matters remain under investigation by the FBI, USACIDC, and other law enforcement agencies.

As a result of the overall investigation, Gen. Garrett has directed the relief of five current and former leaders in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. This includes officers and non-commissioned officers.

Of the five, three will also receive General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand (GOMORs).

Gen. Garrett has also referred further action against seven additional officers and non-commissioned officers to Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of III Corps, and further action against one non-commissioned officer to a separate command.

The eight officers and non-commissioned officers will receive GOMORs. In addition, one will be relieved of their duties.

An additional Army Regulation 15-6 investigation remains open for the 1st Cavalry Division's command climate and SHARP program at Fort Hood. Officials say it is unrelated to Spc. Guillen's death.

Fourteen Fort Hood leaders and soldiers were relieved or suspended in December 2020 following an independent review of the post.

This story was originally published Sydney Isenberg at KXXV.