U.S. ArmyBy CHRISTINA CARREGA, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Family members of murdered Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen are expected to travel from Texas to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to bring awareness to the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill.
The half-day of events is scheduled to begin with a press conference at the National Mall at 8:30 a.m. local time, with attendees expected to demand justice for Guillen and service members who have been victims of sexual harassment or violence.
Guillen, 20, was last seen on the Texas military base on April 22 before law enforcement officials on June 30 found her remains buried near a lake 20 miles away.
Her alleged killer, Spc. Aaron David Robinson, died by suicide on July 1. His girlfriend, Cecily Ann Aguilar, has been charged with assisting with discarding Guillen’s body.
A not-guilty plea was entered on Aguilar’s behalf during a bond hearing at which a federal judge denied her bail.
Following the press conference, a march called “Justice for Vanessa,” from the Capitol to the White House, has been scheduled.
Guillen’s family and their attorney, Natalie Khawam, said Guillen had been sexually harassed by another soldier who allegedly watched her while she was taking a shower. Guillen told her family she didn’t report the incident because she feared retaliation.
Investigators “identified some information” that Vanessa Guillen was “potentially” harassed at Fort Hood, but that it was “not of a sexual nature,” according to an Army official, who added that there may have been “some sexual comments made to her” but they were not from Robinson or “any other parties of interest in the investigation.”
The #IAmVanessaGuillen bill would allow active duty members to file harassment and assault claims to a third-party agency instead of through their chain of command.
“We will not accept anything less than justice for Vanessa,” Khawam said in a statement. “When someone volunteers to serve our country, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by their fellow service members. This bill will help us provide the protection and respect to others that was denied to Vanessa.”
After the march, around noon local time, the Guillen family and Khawam are slated to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House, after which Trump is expected to hold a press conference speaking in support of the bill.
Following that, the Guillen family and Khawam are planning to meet at The Ellipse, a park near the White House, to discuss their meeting with Trump and next steps related to the bill.
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