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Fort Bliss soldier arraigned in court-martial for alleged sexual assault of fellow soldier found dead on post

Fort Bliss soldier death
U.S. Army
Pfc. Asia M. Graham, whose death at Fort Bliss is under investigation.

(Editor's note: This report has been updated to reflect that the accused soldier is charged in three sexual assaults, only one of which is alleged to have involved the deceased.)

FORT BLISS, Texas -- An arraignment at Fort Bliss late Thursday afternoon officially launched the court-martial proceedings against an Army private first class accused of sexual assaulting a fellow soldier who was found dead on New Year's Eve.

Military documents obtained by ABC-7 at the proceeding outlined how Pfc. Christian Alvarado, whose name had not previously been disclosed, allegedly raped an unconscious Pfc. Asia Graham at Fort Bliss a year prior to her death.

In addition, officials have charged the 21-year-old Alvarado as a serial offender, with the documents detailing two other sexual assaults he allegedly committed against other women in the months after the attack on Graham.

The 19-year-old Graham was found unresponsive in her barracks on Dec. 31, Fort Bliss said in a statement issued Jan. 2.

Special agents for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command indicated they do not suspect foul play in her death, but a cause has yet to be made public.

An affidavit filed as part of the court-martial effort contends that Alvarado lied to investigators probing the sex assaults, reported to have occurred in Dec. 2019 against Graham, and against other unidentified victims in May 2020 and Aug. 2020.

Charges were preferred against Alvarado in October of last year, with Maj. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe, 1st Armored Division commander, personally ordering the referral of charges against the soldier to a general court-martial earlier this month.

Now that he's been arraigned on sexual assault charges, a military judge will set a trial date for Alvarado. He waived reading of the charges and declined to enter a plea during Thursday's arraignment, where he appeared in uniform and wearing a Covid face mask.

Following Graham's assault report last year to authorities, the base command began an investigation and put in place a military protective order, as well as making sure that Graham and Alvarado were not living in the same building or working in the same areas, said Lt. Col. Allie Payne, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Public Affairs Officer.

Alvarado entered the Army in July 2018 and arrived at Fort Bliss as his first duty station in February 2019. The military didn't indicate his age or his hometown.

Graham was a Human Resource Specialist who joined the Army one year after Alvarado in July 2019 from Cherryville, North Carolina. Fort Bliss was also her first duty station, the military said.

Graham's awards and decorations during her service include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon.

Article Topic Follows: Military

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Jim Parker

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