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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Fort Hood establishes hotline for soldiers to report harassment incidents

The new hotline also provides information on policies and procedures on filing complaints and information on how to receive help.
Credit: File

FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood recently setup a new hotline where soldiers can report incidents of harassment and military equal opportunity complaints. 

The hotline, established Wednesday, is an additional avenue where soldiers can report such incidents, Fort Hood said. The hotline provides information 24/7 on MEO and harassment policies and procedures on how and where to file complaints, the behaviors that constitute discrimination and harassment and information on how to receive help in the event a soldier is sexually harassed. 

The hotline number is 254-291-5717.

The hotline was established following reviews into the culture on post and ongoing attempts to improve the reporting climate surrounding harassment in the wake of the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.

Spc. Guillen, family members said, was a victim of sexual harassment while on Fort Hood but did not report out of fear of retaliation. Fort Hood previously said they looked into the sexual harassment claims after they learned about them, but found no supporting evidence. 

The claims came to light after Guillen was killed in an armory room on post by Aaron Robinson, according to a criminal complaint. Then, with the help of his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar, dismembered her body and buried the remains in three holes near the Leon River in Bell County.

The remains were found June 30 after Guillen went missing in late April. Robinson shot and killed himself in Killeen in the early morning hours of July 1. Aguilar was charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence. 

Since Spc. Guillen's death and ensuing search for answers on behalf of the family and members of Congress, the case of alleged sexual abuse of Sgt. Elder Fernandes became public after he died by suicide in August. 

RELATED: Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes' death ruled suicide by hanging

Sgt. Fernandes was part of a sexual abuse investigation on post, Fort Hood reported. However, an investigation into the claim found it to be unsubstantiated. 

The #IamVanessaGuillen bill, drawn up in response to Guillen's unreported sexual harassment claims, would change the way soldiers file sexual harassment and assault claims and the way those claims are handled. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) has been working on the legislation along with Natalie Khawam, the Guillen and Fernandes family attorney. 

RELATED: Rep. Sylvia Garcia files legislation to rename Houston post office in honor of Vanessa Guillen