Monday, 11 January 2021

Fort Bliss solider is to be charged with the 2019 sexual assault of 19-year-old female private Asia Graham after she was found dead in her barracks on New Years Eve

 A Fort Bliss soldier will be charged with the sexual assault of fellow soldier Asia Graham, who was found dead in her barracks on New Year’s Eve, authorities announced Friday.

Private First Class Asia Graham, 19, a human resource specialist from North Carolina, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another soldier on June 1.

She said the assault happened in December 2019 and an investigation into her claims ended on December 1 in which a top commander agreed with her.


However, by the end of the month on December 31 she was found dead in her barracks in El Paso, Texas.

An unnamed private first class soldier is scheduled to be formally charged with the sexual assault and Gen. Sean Bernabe, the commander of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, has ordered a military trial for the suspect.

A Fort Bliss soldier will be charged with the sexual assault of fellow soldier Asia Graham, 19, (above) who was found dead in her barracks on New Year¿s Eve, authorities announced Friday

A Fort Bliss soldier will be charged with the sexual assault of fellow soldier Asia Graham, 19, (above) who was found dead in her barracks on New Year’s Eve, authorities announced Friday

Private First Class Asia Graham, 19, a human resource specialist, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another soldier on June 1
She was found dead in her barracks in El Paso, Texas on December 31

Private First Class Asia Graham, 19, a human resource specialist, reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another soldier on June 1. She said the assault happened in December 2019 and an investigation into her claims ended on December 1 in which a top commander agreed with her. However, just one month later she was found dead in her barracks in El Paso, Texas

'Maj. Gen. Bernabe is committed to maintaining the integrity and impartiality of the military justice system. As a reminder to the Fort Bliss community, charges are merely accusations, and all Americans are presumed innocent until proven guilty,' a Friday release said. 

The suspect was notified late Friday and is expected to be arraigned and formally charged over the next week, as per the Charlotte Observer. 

At the arraignment the judge will schedule a date for a military trial, referred to by the military as a court martial.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command do not suspect foul play in Graham's death, according to an announcement last week. 

Graham’s cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.

Graham enlisted in the Army in July 2019 and came to Fort Bliss five months later after completing combat training in Missouri and South Carolina.

Graham, of Cherryville, North Carolina, joined the Army in July 2019
Fort Bliss was her first duty station

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 reported it to her superiors

She reported that she was sexually assaulted by another soldier shortly after arriving at Fort Bliss in December 2019 and reported it to her superiors 

In June, she reported that she had been sexually assaulted by another soldier shortly after arriving at Fort Bliss in December 2019. 

The base command said it promptly began an investigation and made sure Graham and the accused soldier were not living in the same building or working in the same areas.

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 mom Nicole Graham said to WBTV.

'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.'   

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 mom Nicole Graham said

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 mom Nicole Graham said

After her passing the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss shared a statement. 

'The Iron Eagle team is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and teammate,' Col. Geoffrey Whittenberg, the brigade’s commander, said.

'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.' 

Fort Bliss is just the latest Army base to face intense scrutiny in recent months, joinging 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. 

Officials haven't released the offical cause of death and are investigating the discovery of the bodies.

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, according to the New York Times.

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