Lawmakers introduce "I Am Vanessa Guillen" bill on Capitol Hill
AUSTIN, Texas - The "I Am Vanessa Guillen" bill is being introduced today on Capitol Hill with support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
The bill aims to help military members report instances of sexual abuse or harassment without fear of retaliation along the chain of command.
Prior to her disappearance, 20-year-old Fort Hood Specialist Vanessa Guillen told her family that she was being sexually harassed on post but it was never officially reported to Ft. Hood.
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Guillen's remains were found two months after she went missing and it was determined that she had been killed by a fellow soldier.
Under the bill named after Guillen and sponsored by Democratic Texas U.S. Representative Sylvia Garcia, it would allow for an independent prosecutor to investigate cases of sexual violence.
Sexual harassment and assault would both be made a crime within the uniform code of military justice.
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Currently, cases of sexual harassment are addressed through administrative sanctions.
The bill has garnered bipartisan support and sponsors say it will help to reduce a victim's fear in coming forward. It's set to be introduced at 11 a.m. and Guillen's family as well as the family's attorney, Natalie Khawam, are in Washington, D.C. for the introduction.