(ThePatriotSource.com)- An independent investigation that discovered a toxic culture of sexual harassment in the armed forces results in the firing and suspension of fourteen officers and soldiers at Fort Hood on Tuesday. The drastic decision came with several policy changes implemented by Army leaders to avoid the situation happening again.
The investigation also discovered how the army failed to protect female soldiers from being put in danger.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced new measures after 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood died as a result of accidents, homicide, or suicide. In one of the most dramatic instances, Spc. Vanessa Guillen was bludgeoned to death, with her body only being found two months after she went missing.
The alleged killer, Spc. Aaron Robinson, confessed to the murder and authorities said that they believe he committed suicide afterwards. In September, reports described how the 20-year-old Houston native was allegedly killed in an arms room, where she was tasked with ensuring weapons were maintained.
Robinson is accused of having dismembered and buried Guillen’s body with his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, after the incident.
A review by the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, which interviewed 647 soldiers (with 503 being women) found that there was a “permissive environment for sexual assault.” There were 93 credible accounts of sexual assault that took place at the base, with just 59 being reported.
A further 217 accounts of unreported sexual harassment were also discovered, with women at the base telling investigators that they feared ostracism or retaliation if they came forward.
McCarthy said during a press briefing on Tuesday that he believes the issue at Fort Hodo were “directly related to leadership failure.”
“Prior to coming here we spoke with Vanessa Guillen’s mother and told her we would change the culture,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville said. “It is our sacred duty to protect our soldiers so we can protect our nation.”
In response to the investigation, McCarthy announced the Army’s new “People First Task Force” that will implement recommendations put forward by the review committee. A new Army policy was also introduced that focuses on investigating within the first 48 hours after a soldier does not report for duty.
An important and welcome change!