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Fort Sill investigation ends after 3 months with no charges from sexual assault allegations

(US Army Fort Sill/Facebook)

Leaders at Fort Sill announced Thursday that an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault at the Army post found no probable cause to substantiate the accusations.

The report comes after a more than three months of investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, along with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, according to information provided by the Fires Center of Excellence. The allegations surfaced on March 27 when a female soldier attending Advanced Individual Training filed an initial complaint.

“We acted immediately to safeguard the soldier who made the allegations,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Kamper, commanding general at the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. “To protect the integrity of the investigation, those accused were immediately suspended from their duties and removed from the training environment.”

During the investigation, the allegations of two additional soldiers were raised and considered as part of the process, officials said.

“There were over 5,000 documents, thousands of hours of surveillance footage, over 700 interviews conducted, over 100,000 text messages that were reviewed during the course of this particular investigation,” said Cpt. Courtney Richardson-Jones, special victims prosecutor. “We reviewed that evidence and we made the determination that there was no probable cause to believe the allegations occurred in this particular case.”

The complaints implicated multiple instructors all of whom have been cleared, according to Col. Tonya Blackwell, Staff Judge Advocate spokesperson, and senior legal advisor to Kamper.

“We can confidently say that all allegations against the individuals who were named, the evidence did not substantiate any of those allegations, that there is no probable cause to believe that any of those allegations occurred,” she said. “So the individuals who were named have been informed and that they will be returning to their Army careers.”

All three of those alleging misconduct have since separated from the military, said Blackwell.

“The complainants are no longer serving in the military,” she said. “Their basis of departure is unrelated to the allegations.”

The conclusion of the investigation at Fort Sill comes as the military is trying to implement solutions to “counter the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our military,” according to a July 2 memorandum from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Recent reports from an independent review committee, formed after the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, found that leadership at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, fostered “a permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

In March, President Joe Biden’s administration launched a separate independent review commission on sexual assault in the military to make recommendations on accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and survivor care and support. The commission returned a report to Austin on July 2 with 82 recommendations, all of which he accepted. A phased approach to roll-out began late last month, according to the DOD.

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(c) 2021 The Oklahoman

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