Months after an investigation into the murder of Army specialist Vanessa Guillén was initiated, the U.S. Army has released a report confirming that Guillén, who was allegedly killed by fellow soldier Aaron Robinson on April 22, 2020, was sexually harassed by her superior on multiple occasions. It was also determined that the harassment was not related to her murder and did not involve Robinson. However, it did reveal that Robinson had harassed another female soldier. The 20-year-old soldier died by suicide after police moved to arrest him in response to her death.
“While the investigating officer did find evidence of sexual harassment and mistreatment toward SPC Guillén, after examining all the evidence and witness statements, he determined that those incidents were not related to her murder,” the report which was released on April 30 said, according to ABC News. Guillén’s family has insisted since the time of her death, that she had been sexually harassed in the military prior to her disappearance.
In the wake of 20-year-old Guillén’s death, investigations were launched into not only her murder, but also the events leading up to her death and the leadership at her post in Fort Hood, Texas. Throughout the investigation, 151 witnesses were interviewed, more than 6,000 emails were reviewed, and more than 11,500 pages of documents were analyzed. Eventually her entire chain of command was fired at the end of 2020.
“The command investigation, known by the Army regulation 15-6, determined that Guillén’ was sexually harassed on two occasions by one of her supervisors,” the latest report on the investigation confirms, according to ABC News. The investigation report went on to say that Guillén informally reported the harassment, and that her supervisor as well as other leaders within her chain of command failed to take appropriate action. Up until the April 30 report, the Army had claimed that they had not found evidence to support claims of sexual harassment that were made by Guillén’s family in the aftermath of her disappearance and death.
The report details an incident that occurred in the summer of 2019, during which one of her supervisors made a comment in Spanish that she believed to be a request for her to participate in a “threesome.” Witnesses say this visibly upset Guillén. According to the report, two soldiers reported the incident some time between September and October 2019, but no action was taken. The report confirms that the supervisor in question continued to harass and “target” Guillén.
“During a field training exercise, this same supervisor encountered Guillén while she performed personal hygiene in the wood line and Guillén reported that this made her uncomfortable,” the report states. The investigation has concluded that the supervisor “created an intimidating, hostile environment,” for Guillén and other soldiers. The name of the supervisor who harassed Guillén has not been released, according to Army protocol that dictates that soldiers below a certain rank are not publicly identified during investigations such as this.
“None of this will bring Spc. Guillén back. Her memory drives us to be better,” Army Forces Command Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gene LeBoeuf, said in a public statement on April 30, continuing to assert that Guillén’s murder will “drive the Army forward to affect change for our people, our communities and our nation. You are witnessing action for culture change.”
Since Spc. Guillén was killed, there’s been a huge push to address violence against women in the U.S. military, as well as widespread calls for justice for victims of sexual assault within the military. Guillén’s death has shined a light on massive problems with the culture toward women at Fort Hood in particular, where the Vanessa Guillén Memorial plaque and get were recently unveiled.