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Army implements harsher rules for sexual assault suspects

New army rules
Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 24, 2024

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Stricter rules are now in place for soldiers who are accused of serious crimes, such as sexual assault while serving.

Those soldiers can no longer get out of the military without facing more scrutiny for the crime first through the “Office of Special Trial Counsel”.

Vanessa Guillen was murdered at Fort Cavazos by a fellow soldier in April 2020.

Her sister, Mayra, has made it her life’s mission to help other victims.

Mayra Guillen says, "I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I’m very thankful our voices are being heard," Mayra Guillen said.

Under a new rule, which went into effect Saturday, military commanders will no longer have sole authority to grant a soldier’s request for a discharge in place of a court martial.

This all comes after increasing pressure to change how the military responds to violent crimes especially sexual assault.

“It’s sad my sister had to go through all of this to see this change, but we couldn’t let her death be in vain," Mayra Guillen said.

The Army will no longer allow military commanders to decide on their own whether soldiers accused of crimes can leave service rather than go on trial.

The Office of Special Trial Counsel will have the final say on cases including sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, kidnapping and murder.

Vanessa’s sister says this will save future victims.

“I know she’s very proud to see we’re doing this not only in her honor, but to save lives so other victims won’t go through what she’s gone through," she said.

All of the military branches have confirmed they are working toward this new discharge system, except for the U.S. Marines.