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Supporters of murdered U.S. Army Private First Class Vanessa Guillen at a rally last year. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Army said Friday it has punished several Fort Hood leaders after an investigation revealed that the chain of command of slain soldier, Spc. Vanessa Guillén, failed to address the sexual harassment she faced before she was killed last year.

Why it matters: While the military has been criticized for its handling of sexual misconduct allegations for years, the issue gained renewed attention following the murder of 20-year-old Guillén, who told family and friends she had been sexually harassed before she disappeared from Fort Hood in April 2020.

Background: Spc. Aaron Robinson bludgeoned Guillén to death using a hammer, according to investigators. He then allegedly dismembered her body and buried her remains with assistance from a girlfriend.

  • Investigators uncovered her remains on June 30, 2020, over a month after the killing. Robinson was placed under guard but fled and died by suicide.

Details: The report released on Friday found that Guillén was sexually harassed by a supervisor. Though it was reported to leaders, no one addressed the incident.

  • "This supervisor created an intimidating, hostile environment. The unit leadership was informed of the harassment as well as the supervisor’s counterproductive leadership, and failed to take appropriate action," the report said.
  • Her family said she had felt unable to push her chain of command to take action.
  • "It was devastating to all of us," Maj. Gen. Gene LeBoeuf said, per the Washington Post. "We as an Army failed to protect Vanessa Guillén."

Army officials had previously denied allegations that Guillén faced sexual harassment.

  • According to investigators, Robinson did not harass Guillén, but he did sexually harass another woman.

Guillén's family issued a statement Friday, saying there are many inconsistencies in the report, per AP.

  • “Vanessa’s case was severely mishandled. We are upset that the names of the soldiers that sexually harassed Vanessa are not included. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating for all of us,” the family said.

The big picture: After a review in December identified similar systemic issues, the Army reprimanded or suspended a number of leaders.

  • Altogether, 21 soldiers, including one general and other officers, have been punished or suspended, the Post reports.
  • Lawmakers have proposed legislation, named in Guillén's honor, to overhaul the military's system of addressing sexual assault and harassment allegations.
  • Guillén’s death has also led the military to begin to recognize the mistreatment women and people of color often face on their bases.

Go deeper

Andrew Cuomo refuses to resign: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post, despite an independent investigation finding that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

Why it matters: Cuomo had previously urged those calling for his resignation — including nearly every prominent New York Democrat — to wait for the results of the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The findings were damning, but Cuomo said he is not going anywhere.

Updated Aug 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo under criminal investigation for sexual misconduct

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is under criminal investigation after an independent investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law, the Albany County district attorney said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Cuomo, who has denied wrongdoing and urged critics to wait for the results of the independent inquiry, will now face renewed pressure to resign. He must also determine whether he will continue his 2022 re-election campaign.

Updated Aug 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo's former chief counsel joins calls for him to resign after damning report

Photo: Spencer Platt/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) former chief counsel joined top Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday in calling for him to resign after an independent investigation concluded the governor sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

The latest: Alphonso David, who is now president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, called the report authored by investigators "devastating" and echoed others' comments in decrying Cuomo's "pattern of sexual harassment."

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