FORT HOOD, Texas — An investigation into the actions of the Fort Hood chain-of-command following the disappearance of Spc. Vanessa Guillén reveals that Guillén was sexually harassed by a supervisor, according to the Chief of Staff of U.S. Army Forces Command.
A 271-page report, which included the help of more than 151 people interviewed, resulted in several key findings.
It found the supervisor created an intimidating and hostile environment. The report also found the unit leadership was informed of the harassment and the supervisor’s counterproductive leadership and didn't take appropriate action.
The investigation did find that the search for Guillén was immediate and well-coordinated. Fort Hood recognized the unique circumstances of her disappearance on April 22 and determined her absence was likely not voluntary.
During a press briefing Friday, the Army would not elaborate on how or why Spc. Aaron Robinson, who had been suspected in her disappearance, was able to leave Fort Hood on June 30, which culminated in him running from authorities and dying by suicide.
The Army said it took disciplinary action against 21 officers and non-commissioned officers at Fort Hood in connection with the Guillén case. Punishments, which include firing six senior commanders, are the latest Army moves in response to Guillén’s disappearance and death, which brought to light widespread leadership failures at the base.
Guillén disappeared on April 22, 2020, and her remains were found off base in Killeen on June 30. In the U.S. Army Forces Command report released Friday, investigators determined that Guillén had been sexually harassed by a superior non-commissioned officer in her unit, but there wasn’t any evidence she was sexually assaulted.
The report says Guillén twice informally reported the sexual harassment, though neither one was reported by her supervisor. According to the report, the alleged harassment wasn’t related to her death.
The report released Friday also said that between April and September 2019, Spc. Robinson harassed a different female specialist from Fort Hood but found no credible evidence that Robinson sexually harassed Guillén.
The report went on to say that soldiers in Guillén’s unit weren’t adequately trained in preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault and prevention programs there weren’t adequately emphasized.
As for the search for Guillén, Army investigators found her unit responded immediately with “all available resources” on April 22, 2020, when they learned Guillén was missing. When the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command took over the case two days later, they acknowledged Guillén as a “missing soldier” who disappeared under “unusual” circumstances.
"We as an Army failed to protect Spc. Vanessa Guillén,” said U.S. Army Major Gen. Gene LeBouef.
Below is the executive summary of the investigation. You can read more documents, including the 172-page report here.
The investigation doesn’t include alleged criminal misconduct connected to Guillén’s disappearance. That’s being handled by the FBI, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and other law enforcement.
A vigil for Guillen was going to be held Friday in Houston but it was rescheduled due to weather.