A key decision came down this week opening the door for Vanessa Guillen’s family to file a $35 million dollar lawsuit against the U.S. government.
A court found that an old law preventing service members from seeking damages from injuries does not apply to sexual assault allegations.
“Nothing is going to bring her back. I would truly wish to have her here than any of this but this is where we are today," said Mayra Guillen, Vanessa's sister.
Two years after Vanessa Guillen's murder at Fort Hood, her family is still fighting.
“If this keeps happening, victims will now have the right to sue," her sister said.
Suing is the next avenue the Guillen family is pursuing in their quest for justice. They filed the lawsuit in federal court Friday.
“Just like if you work for Harvey Weinstein, or Epstein, or a gymnast they did not allow for sexual assault to happen in their occupation, this shouldn’t happen in the occupation for our soldiers," said Natalie Khawam, the family's attorney.
The lawsuit alleges that Guillen was the victim of sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, sodomy and wrongful death. It details two accounts of harassment during her time as a soldier. Guillen's family says she never reported it for fear of retaliation and they claim she had suicidal thoughts as she struggled to cope.
“Let a jury decide if what happened to Vanessa was ok because that is where everything is going to happen, all the information is going to be heard, all the evidence is going to be displayed and everyone’s going to learn how the army and DOD protected itself rather than it’s soldiers," said Khawam.
The lawsuit was filed in San Bernadino county in California, where Guillen’s family claims she was harassed during training. The Department of Defense now has 6 months to respond, either to reach a settlement or take it to a jury trial.