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Report to governor recommends Maine National Guard sex assault responses

Gov. Janet Mills established the Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma after a Bangor Daily News report exposing a culture of sexual abuse and retaliation.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A special council set up to review the Maine National Guard’s response to sexual assault and sexual harassment is focusing on how to improve the coordination of state and local law enforcement, prosecutors and the guard's response to individual cases, said a new report.

The Advisory Council on Military Sexual Trauma delivered its report Thursday to Gov. Janet Mills, who created the council earlier this year. The 11-member council seeks to connect people with resources after they are harassed or assaulted and improve the Maine National Guard’s responses to those cases.

“I look forward to reviewing these recommendations and to ensuring that we are taking immediate, responsive action to reported allegations, providing justice and support for survivors, and delivering accountability for the perpetrators," Mills said in a statement.

The head of the Maine Guard, Major Gen. Douglas Farnham, said he appreciates all the work that went into producing the report.

“Working with the Advisory Council has been an excellent opportunity for service members, advocacy professionals, law enforcement, and legal representatives to hear and to learn from one another about how we can work together to further support survivors and hold accountable those who fail to live up to our values,” he said.

Mills established the council as one of several responses to a Bangor Daily News series that exposed a culture on the Army side that is permissive of sexual abuse, retaliates against soldiers who come forward and drives women out of the service.

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