Fort Bliss soldier is charged with the 2019 sexual assault of 19-year-old female private Asia Graham
A soldier from Fort Bliss has been charged with the sexual assault of a soldier from his unit who was found dead almost exactly one year later.
Pfc. Christian G. Alvarado, a soldier listed in the 1st Armored Division at the Texas base has been formally accused of three sexual assaults.
Among them, Alvarado is accused of raping 19-year-old Pfc. Asia Graham while she was unconscious on December 30th 2019, at Fort Bliss.
Asia Graham, 19, was found dead in her barracks on New Year’s Eve. One year prior, she reported how she had been sexually assaulted in December 2019
Pfc. Christian G. Alvarado has been charged with the sexual assault of fellow soldier Asia Graham, who was found dead in her barracks on New Years Eve
Private First Class Asia Graham, 19, a human resource specialist, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another soldier. She said the assault happened in December 2019 and an investigation into her claims ended on December 1st in which a top commander agreed with her. However, just one month later she was found dead in her barracks in El Paso, Texas
She was found dead in her barracks room this past New Year’s Eve. A year and a day after the first alleged assault occurred.
Although the her cause of Graham’s death has not been released, the Army say they do not suspect foul play and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Alvarado was arraigned on Thursday during a general court-martial at Fort Bliss on three charges of sexual assault, two charges of making false statements and one charge of aggravated assault in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Graham was a human resource specialist who joined the Army in July 2019.
Graham, of Cherryville, North Carolina, joined the Army in July 2019 and Fort Bliss was her first duty station
She reported that she was sexually assaulted by another soldier shortly after arriving at Fort Bliss in December 2019 and six months later finally reported it to her superiors
She arrived at Fort Bliss in December 2019 after completing Basic Combat Training in Missouri and Advanced Individual Training in South Carolina. She had only been at the base for a matter of weeks before the assault occurred.
She reported the assault to her chain of command six months later on June 1st, and an investigation was immediately launched.
Charge sheets show Alvarado was interviewed June 11 by CID agents, which is when he allegedly made false statements to investigators.
Alvarado told a CID agent that Graham had been on top of him during sex.
The agent said that such a claim was false given that Graham had been unconscious according to her account.
Graham had been assigned to the same battalion as Alvarado.
Her mother believes the military failed to protect Graham after she came forward. ‘I was with the military life, I spoke very highly about the military. But in her situation, I think the leadership failed her,’ Asia’s mother Nicole Graham said
Brother, Andrew Koenigsfeld, said she had a ‘heart of gold’ and ‘looked to motivate people’
Her mother, Nicole Graham, told WBTV in North Carolina that her daughter was ‘a beautiful soul’ whose ‘smile lit up the room.’
‘I was with the military life. I spoke very highly about the military, but in her situation, I think the leadership failed her,’ Graham said earlier this month.
‘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.’
‘She was ready to fight,’ said her brother, Andrew Koenigsfeld. ‘Then that got taken away.’
He described his sister as having a ‘heart of gold’ and said she was a motivational force.
‘Every day, every time I talked to my sister, she always preaches, ‘Go get your goals.’ What do you want to do with your life?’ Koenigsfeld said.
Asia is pictured with family members in an undated photo that includes her mom, Heather, left
Her division paid tribute to her in a Facebook posting online
‘PFC Asia Graham was a valued member of the Iron Eagle Team,’ her division wrote in a Facebook post. ‘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.’
Graham’s awards and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon.
Alvarado has also been accused of committing two other sexual assaults in May and August of last year, however the victims have not been named.
‘As a reminder to the Fort Bliss community, charges are merely accusations and Pfc. Alvarado, like all Americans, is presumed innocent until proven guilty,’ a Fort Bliss press release stated on Saturday.
A trial date has not yet been set for Alvarado’s court-martial.
Family members say Asia was sexually assaulted by another soldier at Fort Bliss, something which her Commander also agreed with
Fort Bliss is just the latest Army base to face intense scrutiny in recent months, joining the likes of Fort Hood, where Vanessa Guillen was murdered, and Fort Bragg, for a series of sexual assault claims and deaths.
Most recently, soldier Sergeant Keith Lewis, 31, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina shot his heavily pregnant wife in front of their three-year-old daughter then turned the gun on himself in a horrific murder-suicide on December 20.
Earlier that same month Master Sgt. William Lavigne II, 37, and Army veteran Timothy Dumas, 44, were both found dead in a training area at Fort Bragg on December 2 in what’s suspected to be a drug deal gone wrong.
Fort Bragg has seen less eyebrow-raising death cases at the base compared to Fort Hood, with just one homicide reported in 2020 before the latest investigations began.