State Rep. César Blanco (D-El Paso) has announced his intent to refile military sexual assault legislation as the Vanessa Guillen Act. Two of Blanco’s previous bills, HB 3039 and HB 4256, were aimed at protecting victims and witnesses of sexual assault in the military in Texas. Blanco plans to refile the bills and also add additional protections into an omnibus reform bill in the next session.
Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s remains were found in early July. The Fort Hood soldier went missing on April 22 after sharing with her family her fears about being sexually harassed.
Guillen’s casket has arrived in Houston, and her grandmother has arrived from Mexico to say goodbye, ABC13 reported. A funeral date is still being decided.
“In the military, we are trained to look out for each other. We owe it to her and the countless victims of sexual assault in the military to ensure our soldiers are safe and justice is served,” said Blanco said.
“No soldier should fear retaliation and the negative stigma of reporting assault and harassment in the armed forces. Although Specialist Gullien was in the United States military, Texas can lead with reforms to protect our soldiers in the Texas military, to ensure every Texas soldier feels safe reporting sexual assaults committed in the military and offenders are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Blanco said.