In the wake of an NBC4 Southern California and NBC Bay Area joint investigation, leadership in the National Guard is looking into allegations that claims of sexual harassment and racism were ignored by the California National Guard.
An investigator from the National Guard Bureau has been called out to California to review whether the state’s guard is investigating complaints, which is required under military and federal law.
"The CNG didn't wait for the report(s), instead we moved decisively to hire a world class HR/EO/EEO professionals who have done simply marvelous work. In fact MG Baldwin has asked for another assistance visit to verify that our HR/EO/EEO programs are completely compliant and are in accordance with the national standard," Brig. Gen. Sylvia Crockett wrote in an email sent Wednesday to KNTV.
The new head of the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Barbaranette Bolden, is set to begin the investigation into the state’s Guard in about three months, Crockett wrote.
And the probe isn’t the first that has called leadership from Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., out west. About a year and a half ago, the California Guard asked for a review of its procedures and received an unflattering report.
Dozens of current and former Guard members have told NBC4 Southern California and NBC Bay Area that they’ve been victims of sexual assault, harassment and racism.
Insiders pointed to high-ranking hypocrisy and a dysfunctional culture in the state’s National Guard where members face retaliation for reporting wrongdoing but leaders can break the rules.
"A culture where the leadership feels the rules don’t apply to them," said a helicopter pilot, who wished to remain anonymous. "The culture basically says, we can do what we want and there will be no consequence."
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All interviews for this story were conducted jointly by the investigative teams at NBC4 Southern California and NBC Bay Area.