Army Fires, Suspends 14 After Scathing Report on Fort Hood Murder
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday said 14 commanders and lower-level leaders at the Ford Hood Army base were either fired or suspended following a probe into a pattern of violence that led to sexual assaults, suicides and murder, CBS News reported.
"I have determined the issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failures," McCarthy said. "I am gravely disappointed that leaders failed to effectively create a climate that treated all soldiers with dignity and respect, and that failed to reinforce everyone's obligation to prevent and properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault."
The investigation was triggered following the violent death of 20-year-old Specialist Vanessa Guillen, who was bludgeoned to death at the base in Killeen, Texas earlier this year, with her family saying the suspect in the case, who committed suicide as police tried to apprehend him, had also sexually assaulted her.
McCarthy said Guillen's murder "shocked our conscience and brought attention to deeper problems," forcing the entire army “to take a critical look at our systems, our policies, and ourselves."
The report by an Independent Review Committee established by McCarthy in July following the murder represents a scathing indictment of a dysfunctional Army culture and urged changes in staffing and programs to protect soldiers from assault, USA Todayreported.
McCarthy said he is creating a "People First Task Force" that will be responsible for making plans to implement the committee's recommendations, beginning in March, according to CBS.
The Army said those relieved of duty include Major General Scott L. Efflandt, Colonel Ralph Overland and Command Sergeant Major Bradley Knapp.