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Slain soldier Vanessa Guillen had reported sexual harassment but leadership did nothing

The harassment was unrelated to her killing, according to an Army report released Friday.
Image: People pay respects at a mural of Vanessa Guillen, a soldier based at nearby Fort Hood
People pay respects at a mural of Vanessa Guillen, a soldier based at nearby Fort Hood on July 6, 2020 in Austin, Texas.Sergio Flores / Getty Images file

Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who authorities say was killed by a fellow soldier last year, had previously been sexually harassed by a supervisor but unit leadership took no action, according to an Army report released Friday.

The report was released following an investigation into Army chain-of-command actions related to the disappearance of Guillen, who went missing from Fort Hood in April 2020.

A total of 21 Army service members were reprimanded for failing to assess the magnitude of Guillen’s disappearance and allowing her suspected killer to flee the base before he died by suicide.

Image: Vanessa Guillen.
Vanessa Guillen.U.S. Army

The investigation also found that Guillen had twice reported that she was sexually harassed, but no action was taken. In one case, Guillen reported that one of her supervisors made an inappropriate sexual comment to her in Spanish last summer, which she understood to be a solicitation for a threesome, according to the Army report.

Guillen confided in other soldiers about the incident and two of them reported it to unit leadership. But the top leadership failed to initiate an investigation, the Army said.

The report says the harassment was unrelated to Guillen’s killing.

“No evidence indicates that this sexual harassment was in any way related to her death,” the Army said in a press release.

The Army announced the findings of the investigation during a media event Friday afternoon. Speaking to reporters, Maj. Gen. Gene LeBoeuf, the chief of staff of U.S. Army Forces Command, cited Commanding General Michael Garrett’s comments to a group of defense reporters earlier this month, saying, “We as an Army failed to protect Specialist Guillen.”

Guillen, 20, was last seen alive at Fort Hood on April 22, 2020. Her dismembered remains were found near the base two months later.

Police identified a suspect, a fellow Army specialist named Aaron Robinson, 20. When officers moved in to arrest him in early July, Robinson shot and killed himself, authorities said.

A woman identified as Robinson's girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, was later arrested on federal charges of tampering with evidence for allegedly helping Robinson dispose of Guillen's body. Aguilar, 22, has pleaded not guilty.

The report sheds no light on what might have led Robinson to kill Guillen. The investigation found that Robinson had been sexually harassing another soldier but there was “no credible evidence” he harassed Guillen or that they had a relationship outside of work, the report says.

Last October, Army officials announced that Guillen died "in the line of duty," a determination that grants her family access to certain military benefits.

The determination entitled Guillen's family to a funeral with full military honors, as well as other Army benefits, including compensation to help the family with life expenses through Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, as well as allowances.