New Mexico activists to hold rally on 'Vanessa Guillen Act'

Lupe Guillén, left, and Gloria Guillén, Vanessa Guillén's sister and mother, speak during a news conference about the "I Am Vanessa Guillén Act," in honor of the late U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, and survivors of military sexual violence, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 16 in Washington.

ALBUQUERQUE — Activists are scheduled to hold a rally to support a proposal that would change how active duty service members file sexual harassment and assault claims.

The “I am Vanessa Guillen Act Rally” slated for Saturday in Albuquerque seeks to put pressure on the state’s congressional delegation to endorse the measure. Under the proposal, the active duty service members would be allowed to file sexual harassment and assault claims to a third-party agency instead of their chain of command.

The proposal is named after Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who went missing in April.

Investigators say Guillen, 20, was bludgeoned to death at Fort Hood by Spc. Aaron Robinson, who killed himself July 1 as police were trying to take him into custody. Guillen’s family has said Robinson had sexually harassed her, but the Army has said there is no evidence supporting the claim.

Fort Hood has one of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault, and harassment in the Army, Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in August.

Retired Army Master Sergeant Crystal C. Romero said victims of sexual assault in the military need a new channel to report abuse.

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