WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Some lawmakers are calling for independent investigations into the murder of 22-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen and say the accusations that she was being sexually harassed at Fort Hood highlight the need for changes in how the military handles such cases.
Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar is calling on the military to be more transparent with Guillen’s relatives so that they can “achieve peace as a family.”
Escobar, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also want the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division to be investigated.
“When did CID come in and what steps they took and how long it took them,” said Speier.
Guillen’s family believes her plans to report sexual harassment on base led to her murder.
“We have heard story after story after story of victims who are afraid to come forward because they’re afrarid they won’t be taken seriously,” said Escobar.
“The system is rigged against the victim,” Speier said.
Speier has successfully changed some of the laws that govern how the military handles sexual harassment and assault but she says it’s not enough.
“My efforts to take thetse cases out of the chain of command so that retribution would not be one of the fears has been thwarted,” Speier claimed.
Speier now wants this year’s National Defense Authorization Act to include a pilot program for independent investigations of sexual harassment and assault.
Republicans like Ohio Congressman Mike Turner want to gather more information.
“The study is ongoing — the study is supposed to come back in October,” he said.