A powerful Latino civil rights group in the United States is calling for an investigation into the death of a Mexican-American servicewoman who was allegedly sexually assaulted on a military base on Friday.
Ana Bazaldua Ruiz, 20, was found dead on March 13 at Fort Hood Barracks, a large military base in Texas, according to a press release from the base.
“We are (…) concerned about the reports from her family that their daughter is repeatedly being the target of sexual harassment,” said Analuisa Tapia, local president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
The organization “demands an immediate, thorough and transparent investigation into these allegations. Investigations must begin immediately,” Ms. Tapia hammered during a press conference in front of the Fort Hood base near Austin.
He also insisted that the inquiry should be conducted by “external authorities” and not by the military.
The teenager’s mother, Alejandra Ruiz, told Telemundo television that her daughter said “a sergeant was harassing her.” He added that he was officially told that his daughter had “lifted” but he did not believe it.
A naturalized American, Ana Bazaldua Ruiz lived in Long Beach, California with her father before enlisting.
In a second statement released Thursday, the base’s press office said “no criminal activity is clear” but said investigators would seek to learn “exactly what happened” and that “information related to possible harassment will be thoroughly investigated.”
The death occurred on the same military base in April 2020 where Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Mexican-American soldier, was killed after she denounced sexual harassment. His decomposed body was finally discovered two months later near the basement.
A dozen officers were sacked after his death and protests erupted demanding an end to the prosecution of sex crimes in the military.
US President Joe Biden signed a military justice reform order in January 2022 that would decriminalize sexual violence in the military and no longer a felony, after years of failed Pentagon efforts to combat the atrocity.