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Vanessa Guillén’s Family Files $35 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Army
“Vanessa did not deserve to sexually harrassed, to be murdered, to be cut up into pieces, to be burned, to be buried into cement,” Vanessa Guillén’s sister, Mayra Guillén, wrote in court papers.
Vanessa Guillén’s family has filed a $35 million lawsuit against the U.S. Army, more than two years after the 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier’s mutilated remains were found in Texas.
Guillén’s family is seeking damages for sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, sodomy and wrongful death, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Spc. Aaron Robinson, who is suspected of killing Guillén with a hammer before torching and burying her body, later killed himself as law enforcement moved to take him into custody. His girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, was charged by federal authorities with evidence tampering in Guillén’s slaying.
Guillén previously confided in her family that she was being sexually harassed by a sergeant, but that their superiors did nothing to intervene.
“The army refused to accept that there was any sexual harassment involved since the very [beginning], claiming that sexual harassment was not criminal therefore no investigation was going to be done,” Guillén’s sister, Mayra Guillén, wrote in the lawsuit. “We refused to that answer and kept claiming for justice alongside our attorney Natalie Khawam."
"Two more investigations were done, and finally after pushing for months, the Army finally accepted that Vanessa had been sexually harassed on more than one occasion," she added. "The criminal investigation is still ongoing, we await trial.”
According to the lawsuit, a higher-ranking servicemember shone a light on Guillén and stared at her as she washed up following a field training exercise. In another instance, a “higher up" army official attempted to coerce Guillén into "threesome," court documents state.
“My family has endured so much in the last two years,” Mayra Guillén added in the case documents. “None of use had the time to grieve or accept what had happened to our loved one."
"The Army must be held accountable for their wrongdoings, the way they handled their investigations early on, the way that Vanessa was treated, the nightmare she had to endure while serving," she continued. "Vanessa did not deserve to sexually harassed, to be murdered, to be cut up into pieces, to be burned, to be buried into cement.”
A Texas Department of Public Safety Report previously claimed that Guillén hadn’t been sexually harassed or assaulted by Robinson prior to her killing.
Guillén joined the Army in 2018 after graduating high school, according to her family.
Her killing triggered a social media movement in which active and former service members spoke spoke out about domestic violence using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillén.
Oxygen.com has reached out to the Army for comment.