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14 Fort Hood leaders disciplined as probe finds 'permissive environment for sexual assault' at the Army base

14 Fort Hood leaders disciplined as probe finds 'permissive environment for sexual assault' at the Army base

 Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said 14 leaders at Fort Hood have been suspended or relieved from their positions.

Image: Memorial Set Up In Austin For Murdered Fort Hood Soldier Vanessa Guillen
People pay respects at a mural of Vanessa Guillen, a soldier based at nearby Fort Hood in Austin, Texas on July 6, 2020.Sergio Flores / Getty Images file

An independent review found that the command climate at the Fort Hood military base in Texas created a "permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment," according to a report released Tuesday.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday that 14 leaders at Fort Hood have been suspended or relieved from their positions.

The report comes after the disappearance and killing of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén earlier this year.

McCarthy appointed a five-member civilian panel in July to conduct an independent review looking into Fort Hood's command climate and culture after Guillén's disappearance. Guillén's family said she had told relatives and colleagues at Fort Hood that she had been sexually harassed at the base.

While officials at the time said they had no credible information or reports that Guillén was sexually assaulted, the allegations prompted many service members to share their experiences with sexual assault and harassment on social media using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen.

The independent review panel also found that the Army's Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP) had not achieved its mandate to curb sexual assault and harassment due to structural failures as well as a command climate that failed to instill the program's core values below the brigade level, subsequently degrading confidence in the program, according to the report.

Fort Hood has some of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault and harassment in the Army, according to McCarthyA report from the Defense Department in 2018 found that sexual assault in the military had increased over the previous two years.

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