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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Vanessa Guillén, Fort Hood to be focus of U.S. House committee hearing

The announcement comes amid the Guillén family's calls for a congressional investigation into the slain soldier's case.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Editor's Note: The video above is from of previous report on members of Congress advocating for legislation addressing sexual harassment and assault in the military. 

The first congressional hearing on the alleged sexual harassment of Spc. Vanessa Guillén and other members of the Army at Fort Hood will be held next week. 

The House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee will hold the initial hearing July 29 at the U.S. Capitol, according to a release from Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29). In addition to Guillén's case, the hearing will review the "lack of reported of sexual harassment in the Department of Defense writ large due to a fear of retaliation and history of cover up."

Results from the inspector general's review of Fort Hood's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program will also be shared at the scheduled hearing.  

“The death of Spc. Vanessa Guillén is a national tragedy that has triggered rightful outrage but also galvanized Americans across the country in demanding that the military finally be held to account for its history of sexual harassment and assault. This toxic environment means our women servicemembers must be constantly on guard against enemies inside and outside their ranks,” Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, said. “The Guillén family and Congress demand and deserve a full account of what the Army knew, when they knew it, and what could have been done to avoid this tragedy."

The announcement of a congressional hearing on Guillén's case and a broader look at Fort Hood's SHARP program comes as the Guillén family and their attorney have repeatedly called for a congressional investigation into the matter. The calls for such a probe came after the soldier's death and family reports that Guillén was sexually harassed on post, but did not officially report it for fear of retaliation. Fort Hood previously said it was investigating the sexual harassment allegations Guillén's family brought to light, but added that no official report had been filed.  

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), who has worked with the Guillén family to get answers in the soldier's case, said the hearing is "another step in our congressional oversight and investigative work" in the young soldier's case.

"Together with many of our colleagues in the House of Representatives, we are ready to tackle head on sexual assault and harassment in the military," Garcia said in a release. "We will not stop until we get to the bottom of the truth in Vanessa's case.

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