New findings surrounding the case of 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen shed light on the intricate culture of sexual harassment cover-ups in the U.S. Army.
According to a recently published investigation, Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed by a supervisor, as she had reported to her superiors before disappearing on April 22, 2020.
Guillen’s body was later found, and her killer, Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, took his own life before facing justice.
As reported by People, Guillen’s family had long said that the 20-year-old small arms mechanic had told them that she had been a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of other military personnel.
“We were taken aback not because they finally admitted the truth, but the fact that it took so long for them to admit the truth – over a year after she went missing and was murdered,” Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam told the magazine. “We were telling them the entire time she was sexually harassed, and they finally admitted it.”
The investigation concluded that Guillen was sexually harassed on two occasions by one of her supervisors.
“This supervisor created an intimidating, hostile environment,” according to an executive summary of the 264-page report. “The unit leadership was informed of the harassment as well as the supervisor’s counterproductive leadership, and failed to take appropriate action.”
According to the investigation, Guillen informally reported two incidents of harassment. The first incident was in his troop orderly room in the summer of 2019 when one of his supervisors made “an inappropriate sexual comment in Spanish that SPC Guillen translated as a request for him to engage in a ‘threesome.'”
Afterward, another supervisor noticed “a marked change in her demeanor” after the incident, “which prompted the supervisor to ask if she was okay.”
Vanessa Guillen then told her supervisor and another soldier what had happened.
“Between 16 September 2019 and 9 October 2019, two Soldiers reported this incident to her unit leadership, who failed to initiate an investigation,” said the report.
Her supervisor was “unprofessional,” and the behavior was “counterproductive” and “adversely affected SPC Guillén and others,” investigators said.
“This supervisor specifically targeted her, called her out in front of her peers, and consistently made an example out of her,” investigators said.
Since the release of the investigation, 21 soldiers have been reprimanded or disciplined as a result of their handling of the Vanessa Guillen case.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, the soldier’s sister, Mayra Guillen, said her family is relieved that the Army has finally backed up her allegations and that some disciplinary action has been taken.
However, the report does not name the supervisor who harassed Vanessa Guillen.
“The Army keeps trying to protect this name, and I want to understand why,” she said of Vanessa Guillén’s harasser. “Why not just try to take a step forward, admit that you were wrong, fix it and make yourself look better so the nation could trust you again.”