03.14.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Requests Federal Review of the Wisconsin National Guard’s Sexual Assault Protocols, Reporting Mechanisms, Investigations and Accountability Measures

Baldwin asks for independent and comprehensive assessment by National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations (OCI) and requested an independent and comprehensive assessment of the Wisconsin National Guard’s sexual assault protocols, reporting mechanisms, investigations and accountability measures.

In her letter to General Joseph L. Lengyel, National Guard Bureau Chief, Senator Baldwin wrote, “Several Wisconsin constituents and National Guard service members have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, retaliation and inadequate accountability for those who commit sexual misconduct.”

Senator Baldwin’s request calls for the OCI to conduct a comprehensive review and “produce a report that includes a top to bottom look at all open and closed sexual harassment and assault investigations.”

In addition, Senator Baldwin asked for the following to be included in the scope of the review and including in a final OCI report:

  • On-site interviews at all major Wisconsin National Guard locations.
  • A review of all allegations identified through federal and state congressional submissions. 
  • Allegations related to a hostile work environment.
  • Coordination with law enforcement.
  • Use of command directed 15-6 investigations for sexual assault allegations.
  • A statewide command climate survey.
  • An assessment of how the Wisconsin National Guard has adhered to Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. 

“I understand the seriousness of my request and I reached the conclusion that an impartial outside review was necessary in light of continued concerns from Wisconsin National Guard service members,” Senator Baldwin wrote. “The men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard deserve an environment free of sexual harassment and assault and I believe an impartial outside review of past actions, current protocols and future improvements is the best way to meet that objective.” 

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers also invited the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations into the state to conduct this independent, comprehensive review of the Wisconsin National Guard’s sexual assault and harassment reporting procedures, investigation protocols and accountability measures.

“As should be the case in all workplaces, the service members of the Wisconsin National Guard deserve a work environment free from sexual assault and harassment, fear of retaliation for reporting sexual assault and harassment when it occurs, and inadequate accountability for perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment,” said Governor Evers. “My office has been in communication with both Sen. Baldwin and State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald about this issue. I appreciate their leadership and know they share my belief that an independent review of Wisconsin’s National Guard’s past responses, current protocols, and recommendations for best practices will help us ensure the safety of the men and women in our National Guard.”

Senator Baldwin’s letter is available here. Governor Evers’ letter is available here