WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The I Am Vanessa Guillen Act is a step closer to becoming law after the murdered Fort Hood soldier's family and their attorney met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. Thursday.
The Guillen family and attorney Natalie Khawam met with members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in regard to the bill, which would allow victims of sexual violence to report incidents outside their chain of command.
Khawam told 6 News that Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) agreed to add the bill as an amendment to the national defense authorization act.
The Guillen family and Khawam have been working with lawmakers to pass the act in an effort to reform the military justice system by improving how sexual violence incidents are addressed by military officials so soldiers feel confident about coming forward with reports.
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In Texas, a similar bill called the Vanessa Guillen Act, was signed in June and went into effect Sept. 1. The Texas version of the bill aims to protect state military members who reported sexual assault without fear of retaliation, lack of confidentiality or concern that nothing will be done if they report.
Spc. Guillen was killed on April 22, 2020 in an armory room on Fort Hood by Spc. Aaron Robinson, according to a criminal complaint in the case. Robinson, with the help of his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar, dismembered Guillen's body and burred the remains near the Leon River in Bell County, per the complaint.
Her body was found just over two months later on June 30, 2020. Robinson shot and killed himself the next day as authorities closed in on him to arrest him.
Guillen told her family she was sexually harassed but they said she did not report it for fear of retaliation.
Aguilar is charged with tampering with documents or proceedings and conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings for her role in Guillen's death and disappearance.