14 soldiers fired, suspended from Fort Hood after widespread violence, sexual harassment

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According to Fox news

Fourteen officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood were fired or suspended Tuesday, and Army leaders announced several policy changes after an independent investigation revealed a toxic culture that fueled sexual harassment and failed to protect female soldiers from harm.

The actions, taken by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, come in the aftermath of a year that saw 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood die due to suicide, homicide or accidents, including the bludgeoning death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. Guillen was missing for about two months before her remains were found.

Her alleged killer, who confessed to the murder and authorities believe sexually assaulted Gullien, Spc. Aaron Robinson, committed suicide shortly afterward.

Guillen’s death sparked the basis of the independent review, which officials say uncovered “a deficient climate at Fort Hood, including ineffective implementation of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program that resulted in a pervasive lack of confidence, fear of retaliation, and significant underreporting of cases, particularly within the enlisted ranks.”

The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee said they interviewed 647 soldiers, 503 of whom were women, and uncovered a “permissive environment for sexual assault.”

Of 93 credible accounts of sexual assault at the base, only 59 were reported. In total, there were 217 unreported accounts of sexual harassment discovered, and many women said they feared retaliation or ostracism and felt that reporting the instances would derail their careers.

“Fort Hood leadership knew or should have known of the high risk of harm to female Soldiers,” according to the report.

“I’ve determined the issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failure,” McCarthy said at a press briefing Tuesday, standing alongside Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville and Sgt. Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston.

“Prior to coming here we spoke with Vanessa Guillen’s mother and told her we would change the culture. … It is our sacred duty to protect our soldiers so we can protect our nation,” McConville said.

McCarthy announced that the Army has created a People First Task Force to implement the recommendations of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, which will be unveiled in March, and also announced a new Army policy focused on the first 48 hours after a soldier fails to report for duty.

“When one of our teammates does not report for duty, we will change their duty status to ‘absent-unknown’ and take immediate action to find them,” McCarthy said.

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