Third accuser testifies Fort Bliss soldier allegedly assaulted, strangled her while pregnant with his child

El Paso News

Christian Alvarado/Courtesy EPPD.

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — A more complete portrait of the scope of the accusations against Pfc. Christian Alvarado became clear on Wednesday when a third accuser emerged from the witness room.

A general court-martial held this week over sexual assault accusations against Alvarado have taken place at Fort Bliss. On Wednesday, a third accuser took the stand, testifying that she began a casual sexual relationship with Alvarado last summer while separated from her husband, who she continues to be separated from.

She said the friends-with-benefits situation ended about two months into it, before August 2020. The accuser testified that she became pregnant by Alvarado sometime over the summer, and that he agreed to go to her house (after the relationship was over) to discuss his level of involvement in the unborn child’s life. 

“He wanted to come by my house and it was late but he was adamant,” she testified. 

She said the relationship had ended on poor terms and she called a mutual male friend to be present and the prosecution entered into evidence a screenshot of her call log, indicating that she called the friend about a minute after hanging up with Alvarado.

She said both men arrived around the same time and the three chit-chatted in her driveway but did not begin the intended discussion. She wanted to stay outside because her two children from her marriage were asleep inside. The friend had to leave after 11 p.m., and Alvarado asked the woman if he could go inside for a glass of water. 

“I was uncomfortable being alone with him,” she testified, but she said she agreed to allow him inside the home.

She said she retrieved some water while he waited on the far right side cushion of the couch in her living room. She sat on the far left. The woman testified that she brought up the conversation about the baby but that Alvarado “didn’t want to talk about it.”

After some prodding, “He said he didn’t want to be part of the child’s life. He said he had his mind set on not having a relationship with the child,” she testified. 

The woman then testified that Alvarado switched the topic of conversation to them reconciling and having a relationship that was more than casual sex. She said no because she was going through a divorce and did not want to be in a relationship. According to her testimony, Alvarado moved toward her and tried to kiss her.

“I tried to stop it,” she said. “I moved my body away from his to try to create more space between us,” she said, adding that she again tried to bring up the issue of the pregnancy but the conversation turned physical.

“I was on the couch and he pushed me down and got on top of me. He put his left hand around my throat and applied pressure. Then he started trying to put his right hand down my pants,” she testified.

The woman demonstrated the way he choked her, opening then closing her fist. She said that her vision became dark and blurry, her face hot and tingling.

“He didn’t even look like him,” she said, and described a blank stare as he maintained pressure on her throat. She said she did what she could to try to push him off but did not have the strength. He succeeded in putting his hand down her pants and she said he then penetrated her with his fingers.

“I could not move or say anything,” she said. “All I could think was ‘my kids are asleep, what if they wake up? What if I don’t?’”

She testified that when her body eventually went limp, Alvarado released his grip. She said she got up and ran to her bedroom, then locked the door. She said she heard her front door open and close, then heard the sound of his car driving away.

She testified that she checked each room to verify that Alvarado was gone, locking each door and window as she went. Next, she said she ran to her neighbor’s house, a friend who is also an emergency medical technician. She disclosed to her friend that she was assaulted but did not initially report it.

“I thought it would be a he-said-she-said,” she testified. 

Eventually, she did report the incident.

Like another accuser, she was assisting the investigation with CID using text messages to elicit a response from Alvarado. The prosecution admitted into evidence a series of screenshots of an exchange between the woman and Alvarado on Sept. 10, when he contacted her after she ceased contact with him and no longer had his number.

The woman then began asking him about the alleged assault, but Alvarado responded defensively and apologized for his “aggressive behavior.” At one point, he told the woman that he was suspicious of her questioning.

“Are you looking for clarification or another reason?” he wrote. “Sounds like you’re going to go to the police,” he continued.

Throughout the woman’s testimony, she said she did not ever agree to rough sex or asphyxiation during her encounters with Alvarado.

The third day of the trial began with Alvarado’s defense attorneys arguing that former Fort Bliss soldier Pfc. Asia Graham’s alleged drug dealing was admissible in court, asserting that it was relevant for the defense to determine whether one of the accused — the chaplain’s assistant who knew both Graham and Alvarado — and Pfc. Marzzio Plancarte, Alvarado’s former roommate who testified on Monday, were all part of a conspiracy to fabricate the sexual assaults to deflect from the alleged buying and selling of vape cartridges for cannabis pens.

“Someone engaged in illegal activity and it’s a way to get the heat off of them,” argued the defense. “We all know military sexual assault in the military is a hot topic right now.”

The motion came because the defense noted that Graham and a third accuser made their reports with the Crime Investigation Division (CID) within days of each other and that it was grounds to admit evidence related to Graham’s character.

“Is alleged drug use pertinent as a character trait?” the judge asked, before answering his question. “No, it is not.”

The judge asserted the evidence was not relevant because it did not relate to material facts, even if the evidence was minimally probative.

“The issue is if the accused had sex with her while she was asleep,” the judge concluded.

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