A private at Fort Bliss had been ordered to appear before a military judge this week after sexually assaulting Asia Graham, a fellow private who died on New Year’s Eve.
Private First Class Christian Alvarado, who had not been identified initially, received notification last Friday that he was being court-martialled and a hearing would take place at some point over the next week.
Military prosecutors say that Alvarado assaulted an unconscious Graham on December 30, 2019. He is also accused of raping a drunk woman on May 8, 2020, and sexually abusing a third female on August 26, 2020. The three incidents reportedly happened at the El Paso, Texas base.
It comes after Asia Graham was found dead in the Fort Bliss army barracks on New Year’s Eve, more than six months after she was sexually assaulted last summer.
She was a 19-year-old private first class from Cherryville in North Carolina and joined the Army in July 2019, working as a specialist in human resources.
Via Facebook and Instagram, many are paying tribute to Asia Graham and demanding that justice be served.
Graham had reported the assault on June 1, 2020, which prompted an investigation. The inquiry into the assault was ongoing by the time of her death and had already lasted months.
In October last year, investigators found it was “probable” that another soldier had assaulted Graham.
The court martialling of Christian Alvarado, 19, was ordered personally by Maj. Gen. Sean Bernabe following Graham’s death.
No foul play is suspected, and a statement released from the Army’s public affairs office said that the cause of death is still unknown as investigators await a full autopsy.
Asia Graham’s mother, Nicole Graham, paid tribute to her daughter in the days after she died, saying she was “my everything.”
Commander Geoffrey Whittenberg, from the 1st Armoured Division, also paid tribute to Graham, sending condolences to her friends and family and saying that the team is “deeply saddened” by the death of their colleague.
Nicole Graham has said the army leadership “failed” her daughter, and the family of Asia Graham continues to push for more answers about her death and the assault.
The devasted mother said: “I was with the military life; I spoke very highly about the military. But in her situation, I think the leadership failed her. Do I think she was murdered? No. But do I think if it would have handled better from the beginning, I think she would have had the proper help before, and she would have been OK.”
Via Facebook, the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss shared the following statement: “The Iron Eagle team is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate. Pfc. Graham was a valued member of the Iron Eagle team and did an outstanding job for this Battalion. Her loss is felt not just in our formations but across the Army. We lost a skilled human resource specialist who wanted nothing more than to serve her country and her battle buddies.'”
In addition to the two other rape charges after his arraignment on Thursday, Christian G. Alvarado also faces one count of aggravated assault and two counts of lying to investigators.