Fort Hood investigators paint damning picture to Congress

Washington-DC

3 out of 4 young female soldiers reported being sexually assaulted or harassed

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Three months after publishing their findings, independent investigators testified to a House committee about what they found in their review of Fort Hood, including that 3 out of 4 young female soldiers reported being sexually assaulted or harassed.

The investigation followed a string of murders, disappearances and unsolved sexual assault cases, including the murder of Vanessa Guillen.

Both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill said they are determined to keep pushing the military to fix the problems at Fort Hood.

“I will continue to fight for a change to ensure that what happened to Specialist Guillen and her family never happens again,” said Texas Democrat Silvia Garcia.

Former FBI consultant Mary Counts said “it was almost an initiation to be sexually assaulted or sexually harassed” at Fort Hood.

Investigators found top officials and leadership at Fort Hood knew but did nothing.

Since the murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, 14 senior officials were suspended or removed but lawmakers and investigators said that alone won’t solve all the problems — such as too many inexperienced investigators working in Fort Hood’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID).

“That resulted in unsolved murders until civilian law enforcement stepped in,” California Democrat Jackie Speier said.

Military officials told lawmakers more changes are coming.

“I am working with key stakeholders to reform, restructure and modernize CID to address the shortcomings identified in the report,” said Major General Donna W. Martin the CID commanding general.

Investigators said lawmakers should look into whether the sexual assault review board is working properly and that cases are followed up.

Christopher Swecker, the chair of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, said that needs to happen “from start to finish — which nobody was doing and I’m not sure they’re doing it now.”

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