Head of Wisconsin National Guard to resign after investigation finds mishandled complaints

Head of Wisconsin National Guard to resign after investigation finds mishandled complaints
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The head of the Wisconsin National Guard has resigned after an investigation found repeated mishandling of sexual assault complaints.

After a seven-monthlong investigation into how the Wisconsin National Guard handles sexual misconduct complaints, Gov. Tony Evers is asking the general of the state’s Guard to resign.

Federal investigators met with Gen. Donald Dunbar over the weekend to brief him on their findings, which came after investigators canvassed about 1,600 personnel, conducted 78 in-depth interviews, reviewed more than 1,100 documents and visited 10 military sites throughout Wisconsin.

Dunbar said he and his team are in the process of reviewing the OCI assessment, and he plans to implement all recommendations in the report.

“Sexual misconduct has no place in the Wisconsin National Guard,” Dunbar said.

The investigation began earlier this year after a whistleblower wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin detailing two decades worth of sexual misconduct he had seen or heard about in his time stationed at Truax Field that had been mishandled. Evers and Baldwin subsequently called for a federal investigation into the specific claims, which is still ongoing.

“Our Wisconsin National Guard service members deserve leadership of unmatched integrity and a work environment free of sexual assault, harassment and the fear of retaliation,” Baldwin said. “This National Guard Bureau report makes clear they have received neither. The failure of leadership, wrongdoing, and lack of accountability that has been uncovered demands change at the Wisconsin National Guard, including new leadership and implementing all of the report’s recommendations on how best to prevent sexual assault and harassment, and confront it with accountability when it occurs.”

State legislators or staff for top lawmakers in both parties were briefed on the report Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald called for an investigation into the Guard’s protocol for handling sexual assault in February. He said in a statement Thursday he was shocked to hear how investigators were appalled as they looked into the Guard’s handling of these cases.

“It is the responsibility of the Department of Military Affairs to keep the brave men and women serving our state safe,” Fitzgerald wrote Thursday. “Clearly changes must be made.”

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