Pfc. Christian Alvarado was sentenced by a military judge to 18 years and three months in prison and was acquitted of two additional sexual assault charges, according to KFOX 14 in El Paso.
Last Dec. 31, Pfc. Asia Graham, 19, was found dead of an accidental overdose in her Fort Bliss barracks, a year after she told authorities Alvarado had sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.
Three of Alvarado’s other accusers testified against him in court, according to El Paso Matters. The women were named in court but the outlet doesn’t publicly name assault victims without their consent.
The military’s investigation into Graham’s death led to new evidence related to her assault allegations, according to KFOX.
“Once the sentencing was over my whole anxiety dropped to the bottom of me almost like I can start my grief process now,” Graham’s mother, Nicole Graham, said, according to KVIA-TV in El Paso. “Now my baby can rest in peace. I honestly think from the time she died until now she wasn’t in heaven. She was here, she wanted to see it through she wanted to give me the strength to see it through.”
The details surrounding Graham’s death are still under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, according to KFOX.
Alvarado will be dishonorably discharged after serving his sentence, KVIA-TV reported.
A study released Friday found that female soldiers at Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, both in Texas, faced the highest risk of harassment and sexual assault, particularly those in combat commands or jobs such as field artillery and engineering.
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