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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

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.

Democrats open to user fees for infrastructure deal

President Biden sits Thursday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as they discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some Senate Democrats are open to paying for a compromise infrastructure package by imposing user fees, including increasing the gas tax and raising money from electric car drivers through a vehicle-miles-traveled charge.

Why it matters: By inching toward the Republican position on pay-fors, some Democrats are bucking President Biden's push to offset his proposed $2.3 trillion plan by focusing only on raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

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