Vanessa Guillen’s family files a $35 million lawsuit against the US government

The 20-year-old Texas soldier was sexually harassed and killed in Fort Hood. Her family says she has also been a victim of abuse, assault, rape and wrongful death.

AUSTIN, Texas — The family of a Texas soldier who was sexually harassed and killed at a military base near Killeen in 2020 filed a lawsuit Friday seeking $35 million in damages from the U.S. government demanded.

The lawsuit states that 20-year-old Vanessa Guillen was the victim of sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, bestiality and wrongful death.

Editor’s Note: The above video originally aired on May 24th.

An investigation by military officials into the death of Guillen, who was killed by a comrade at the US Army base at Fort Hood, found that she was also the subject of sexual harassment and that leaders failed to take adequate action.

TIED TOGETHER: More coverage of the Vanessa Guillen case

The lawsuit details two instances where Guillen was molested during her time as a soldier and Guillen’s suicidal thoughts as a result of coping with the molestation, which she told her family she was not reported for fear of retaliation.

“This will be an opportunity for every victim to not only feel like they have a voice, but that they can have a chance to heal,” said Natalie Khawam, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Guillen family.

The lawsuit follows a Thursday decision by a three-member panel of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that an Army colonel could file a lawsuit against a former Air Force general alleging sexual assault. The court found that a law preventing soldiers from claiming damages for injuries sustained while on duty did not apply.

Guillen was reported missing in April 2020. Her remains were found in July when the soldier accused of killing Guillen died by suicide after a confrontation with officers. A civilian has been charged with allegedly helping Spc. Aaron Robinson disposes of Guillen’s remains.

Guillen’s death and claims from her family that she was being harassed and assaulted at the Texas base sparked an affair social media movement from former and serving soldiers who have shared their own experiences in the military using the hashtag #IAmVaessaGuillen. Federal State and federal The legislature has since passed laws honoring Guillen, stripping commanders of some powers and giving survivors more reporting avenues. Vanessa Guillen’s family files a $35 million lawsuit against the US government

Laura Coffey

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