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Vanessa Guillen’s family seeking $35 million in damages from the US government

AUSTIN, Texas — Vanessa Guillen’s family is seeking $35 million in damages from the U.S. government after she was sexually harassed and killed at a military base near Killeen, Texas in 2020.

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Guillen’s family filed a lawsuit on Friday in which they are seeking damages for her death based on sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, sodomy and wrongful death, according to The Associated Press.

Guillen was “declared missing” in April 2020 and her remains were recovered in July 2020, according to the AP. Fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson, who allegedly killed her, died by suicide. Cecily Anne Aguilar faced charges for allegedly helping Robinson allegedly dispose of the remains.

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Military officials conducted an investigation into Guillen’s death and found that in addition to being killed by a fellow soldier at the U.S. Army base Fort Hood, she was also sexually harassed. They also found that leaders at the base failed to step in and take action, according to the AP.

The lawsuit, the AP said, goes over two times where Guillen was harassed and talked about her suicidal thoughts. Her family was aware of what was going on, but she was afraid to report it because of retaliation.

Guillen’s death sparked a social media movement where former and active service members came forward about their experiences in the military, according to the AP. Since then, state and federal lawmakers have passed legislation in her honor that gave survivors more options so they could safely report and was able to remove some commanders’ authority.

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