Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lawmakers unveil bipartisan invoice named after Vanessa Guillen to vary sexual harassment reporting in navy

Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned in a press release she met with the Guillen household Wednesday morning and dedicated to bringing the invoice to a vote on the Home flooring. The timing of the vote could be “both within the subsequent few weeks or in November,” based on the invoice’s primary sponsor, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California.

The “I’m Vanessa Guillen Act” would make sexual harassment against the law throughout the Uniform Code of Army Justice and transfer prosecution selections of sexual assault and harassment instances out of the navy chain of command, based on the invoice’s sponsors.

Within the navy judicial system, the commanding officers assessment the felony investigation’s outcomes and resolve whether or not to convene a courtroom martial to prosecute the costs.

The invoice already has 73 cosponsors — each Democrat and Republican — within the Home, Speier mentioned.

“This piece of laws goes to remodel a tragedy into change,” Speier mentioned Wednesday throughout a press convention on Capitol Hill with the invoice’s different backers and Guillen’s dad and mom and sisters in attendance.

The invoice would additionally require an impartial prosecutor’s dedication as whether or not a case strikes ahead and supply a chance for victims to file claims with the Division of Protection for compensation, Speier mentioned. The invoice would additionally launch an exterior assessment by the US Authorities Accountability Workplace of the navy’s sexual harassment response program and its protocols for lacking individuals.

“In her dying, she’s going to serve her brothers and sisters in arms for years to return and shield these different women and men that perhaps did not have a voice beforehand, and now have a spot to go,” Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma mentioned throughout Wednesday’s press convention.

Guillen, 20, disappeared in April and her remains were found June 30 in a shallow grave, based on household legal professional Natalie Khawam. Guillen was bludgeoned to dying and her physique was moved from the navy set up by her killer, based on Khawam, who cited particulars the household discovered from Military investigators.

The primary suspect in her disappearance, one other Fort Hood soldier, Spc. Aaron Robinson, killed himself in July, when he was confronted by police in Killeen, Texas.

Khawam mentioned the household instructed her that Guillen had deliberate to file a harassment grievance in opposition to Robinson the day after she was killed.

“The Military and Ft. Hood failed her. However in her identify, we make the excellent modifications wanted to cease this from ever occurring once more,” Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas, the Guillens’ consultant in Congress, mentioned Wednesday. “The ‘I Am Vanessa Guillen Act of 2020’ is a transformative piece of laws that may save lives and assist maintain our men and women on this Armed Providers protected.”

Getting choked up, Garcia added, “Whereas we are able to by no means convey Vanessa again, in the present day we honor her reminiscence.”

Mullin advised that President Donald Trump, although he hasn’t seen the textual content of the invoice, could be supportive of the laws and “is dedicated to serving to Vanessa’s household.”

Trump met with the family on the White Home in July and, when pressed for help on the invoice, mentioned he would look into it.

Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono additionally plans to introduce companion laws within the Republican-led US Senate.

“You’ve our promise that we’re going to ensure that Vanessa’s life has not been misplaced in useless. That you could proudly be reminded that her presence goes to be on each navy base as it’s remodeled into an establishment that shield its service members,” Speier mentioned, addressing the Guillen household instantly.

In a press release to Carihargater in late July, Fort Hood officers instructed Carihargater there have been 23 deaths this 12 months on the base.

Speier mentioned that she’s going to be a part of a congressional delegation to Fort Hood on Thursday, the place they plan to talk with enlisted troopers, navy police and police in Killeen, and go to the “crime scene and placement of the stays of Vanessa Guillen.”

This story has been up to date with extra developments Wednesday.

Carihargater’s Amir Vera and Lori Daniel contributed to this report.

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