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The Latest: Guard clarifies whistleblower reprisal probe

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to discharge a Wisconsin National Guard sexual assault whistleblower (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

The Wisconsin National Guard’s leader is shedding more light on who’s investigating whether commanders are retaliating against a soldier who reported multiple incidents of sexual assault and harassment within his unit.

Wisconsin Air National Guard Master Sgt. Jay Ellis’ complaints last year have spurred two federal investigations that are still ongoing. Ellis has alleged his superiors are trying to discharge him and deny him retirement benefits in retaliation. Ellis filed a complaint with the Wisconsin National Guard’s inspector general’s office in May.

Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar said in a letter to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday that the complaint was forwarded to the secretary of the Air Force, which in turn forwarded it to the Department of Defense. The Air Force then sent the complaint back to the Wisconsin National Guard to investigate. Dunbar confirmed that probe is ongoing.

He says the findings will be reported back to the Air Force and then to the Department of Defense’s inspector general for review and final disposition.

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11:40 a.m.

The Wisconsin National Guard’s commander says he won’t finalize any decision to discharge a whistleblower who reported sexual assaults in his unit until an investigation into his allegations that his superiors are trying to retaliate against him is complete.

Master Sgt. Jay Ellis’ complaints last year about sexual assaults and harassment in his unit have spurred two federal investigations that are still ongoing. Ellis said earlier this month his superiors are working to discharge him on medical grounds in order to deny him retirement benefits. Dunbar has launched an investigation into those allegations.

Baldwin sent Dunbar and the National Guard Bureau a letter earlier this month asking that the discharge process be halted.

Dunbar sent a letter to Baldwin on Tuesday saying that he won’t finalize any discharge decision until the retaliation investigation ends. He also said that even if Ellis is discharged he wouldn’t lose his benefits.

Ellis told The Associated Press that Dunbar is playing semantics. He said a medical discharge would deny him full-time federal benefits and Dunbar is referring to his National Guard benefits.

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10:35 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office says the National Guard Bureau has launched an investigation into efforts to discharge a Wisconsin whistleblower.

Wisconsin Air National Guard Master Sgt. Jay Ellis’ complaints last year about sexual misconduct in his unit has spurred two federal investigations that are still ongoing. Ellis said earlier this month his superiors have decided to discharge him in order to deny him retirement benefits in retaliation. The Wisconsin National Guard has launched an investigation into those allegations.

Baldwin wrote a letter to the National Guard Bureau earlier this month asking that Ellis’ discharge process stop. Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said Wednesday that the NGB’s inspector general has now launched an investigation into Ellis’ retaliation allegations.

An NGB spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to an email.

Associated Press

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