EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The court-martial examining the alleged sexual assault of Pfc. Asia Graham began on Monday at Fort Bliss.
Fort Bliss soldier Pfc. Christian Alvarado is accused of sexually assaulting Graham in 2019 while she was unconscious. Alvarado is also accused of raping and groping other women on multiple occasions over the last four years. He was arraigned in April on four news counts of sexual assault, as well as two counts of abusive sexual conduct.
The alleged incidents took place near Mesa, Ariz., as well as on Fort Bliss.
Alvarado faces accusations of two alleged sexual assaults that happened in December 2018 and two more on Jan. 2, 2019, that occurred in Arizona. He’s facing additional accusations of groping a woman’s inner thigh without consent in Arizona that took place between Dec. 19, 2020, and Jan. 8.
The other cases of sexual assault grouped with Graham’s include allegations that Alvarado sexually assaulted a woman he knew was inebriated in May 2020; another alleged sexual assault took place on Fort Bliss on Aug. 26, 2020. He is also facing charges of aggravated assault that also happened on Aug. 26, 2020, involving strangulation.
Alvarado was arraigned at a general court-martial in January 2020 for three allegations of sexual assault, aggravated assault and two counts of making false statements to military investigators.
Alvarado has also had separate run-ins with the law. He was arrested in March 2020 by the El Paso Police Department on misdemeanor charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits.
EPPD responded to a call of shots fired. Alvarado was accused of firing an AR-15 rifle outside an apartment complex in Northeast El Paso that he said was to frighten coyotes.
Both Graham and Alvarado were assigned to the 1-501st Attack Battalion, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
Graham joined the U.S. Army right out of high school and the alleged rape occurred within the first month of her time on Fort Bliss — five months after enlisting.
The 19-year old was found unresponsive in her barracks on Dec. 31, 2020, a year after the alleged sexual assault. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command does not believe foul play was a contributing factor.
The death of Graham and others like Vanessa Guillen has prompted state and federal efforts to combat military sexual assault.
Last month, state Sen. Cesar Blanco of El Paso passed Senate Bill 623, the Vanessa Guillen Act, that will create better pathways to reporting and investigating military sexual assault. The bill awaits approval by Gov. Greg Abbott.