Army Fort Hood panel finds 'permissive' culture of sexual assaults

(Reuters) - An investigative panel looking into violent crimes and abuse at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas said on Tuesday it found a command structure that was 'permissive' of sexual assaults.

Reuters December 09, 2020 00:12:20 IST
Army Fort Hood panel finds 'permissive' culture of sexual assaults

Army Fort Hood panel finds permissive culture of sexual assaults

(Reuters) - An investigative panel looking into violent crimes and abuse at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas said on Tuesday it found a command structure that was "permissive" of sexual assaults.

As a result, over a dozen commanders have been suspended or relieved and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said he expects to make widespread changes in light of the panel's finding.

The panel of five experts was created in July after a series of crimes including the murder of Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier at the base whose remains were found in June.

Guillen had disappeared from the base months earlier. Her family said she had been sexually harassed before her disappearance in April, but Army officials say no sexual harassment reports were filed.

The panel, which said it interviewed over 500 women at Fort Hood, found that only about half of "credible accounts" of sexual assault and harassment at the base were ever reported to commanders.

The reason was a lack of confidence among the women that any action would ever be taken, the panel said, adding that most were also fearful of retribution against them.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command announced on July 1 that one military suspect in Guillen's case had taken his own life in Killeen, Texas, and a civilian suspect had been arrested.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas, Editing by Franklin Paul and Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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