A soldier was found guilty Friday at a Fort Bliss, Texas, court-martial of sexually assaulting two women, including a fellow soldier who died of a drug overdose a year later, a recent autopsy showed.
Pfc. Christian G. Alvarado was convicted of one specification of making a false official statement, two specifications of sexual assault and one specification of aggravated assault in violation of Articles 107, 120, and 128 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
Alvarado was acquitted of five other specifications of sexual assault. He was sentenced to confinement for 18 years and three months, as well as a dishonorable discharge, Fort Bliss officials confirmed.
During questioning at trial, Alvarado told prosecutors that he was sexually abused as a child and had an extensive mental health history, but he was also caught lying about a football scholarship he claimed he won to Arizona State University.
One of the sexual assault convictions stemmed from Alvarado raping 19-year-old Pfc. Asia Graham while she was unconscious Dec. 30, 2019, at Fort Bliss. Roughly one year later, this New Year’s Eve, Graham was found dead in her barracks room.
Graham overdosed from a mixture of fentanyl and synthetic cannabinoids, according to a military medical examiner’s findings released this week.
An Army CID investigation into Pfc. Asia Graham’s death “remains open due to associated criminal matters,” CID spokesman Chris Grey told Army Times on Thursday.
However, “No foul play is suspected in her death,” Grey added.
An investigation began after Graham reported her assault to her chain of command in June 2020, according to Fort Bliss officials. However, Graham’s family has said that she actually reported the rape to her command in February.
Regardless, an investigation was launched over last summer and several other victims were identified by CID agents.
Charge sheets detailing the allegations against Alvarado stated that he had sex with a woman who was too intoxicated to consent in May 2020, months after raping Graham.
He also sexually assaulted another woman in August 2020, the charge sheets stated. The aggravated assault charge came from the same incident, when Alvarado unlawfully strangled someone.
Additional charges of sexual assault on a woman in Mesa, Arizona, were also brought against Alvarado, but he was found not guilty of those.
Alvarado had been assigned to 1-501st Attack Battalion, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade. He enlisted in July 2018 and arrived at Fort Bliss in February 2019.
Alvarado’s sentencing came the same day a Rand Corp. study found that Fort Bliss was at the top of the list of Army installations where women are at the highest risk for sexual assault.
Researchers concluded that large numbers of young and inexperienced soldiers, toxic command climates and proximity to combat arms units could account for those risks.
Alvarado’s court-martial was presided over by military judge Col. Robert Shuck.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.