by: Erin Coulehan
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A trial over allegations of sexual assault against a Fort Bliss soldier continued on Tuesday as prosecutors and defense attorneys jousted over the case.
Private First Class (Pfc.) Christian Alvarado stands accused of several sexual assault charges. A court-martial trial began this week.
On Tuesday, the court revealed that Special Agent Aaron Postma, who testified on Monday as a Senior Interviewer in the Criminal Investigations Unit (CID), was in fact a polygraph administrator.
Postma administered two polygraphs on Alvarado pertaining to two victims: the late Asia Graham, and another accuser. Graham was found unresponsive in her barracks on New Year’s Eve and was later pronounced dead by the Fort Bliss Department of Emergency Services personnel – family says it was from asphyxiation.
The defense kicked-off around 9:30am, with defense attorneys asking Postma, 34, about his education level.
Postma testified that Closed Circuit TV was used to film and record the interview for records. He also said that he reviewed Special Agent James Diamond’s case summaries of his interviews with Alvarado to avoid any bias that may arise from viewing the video footage.
Interview techniques used by Postma included rapport building and minimization. And, part of the rapport building process, Postma said, is using words that are in the examinee’s lexicon.
“P**sy hits the radar of don’t give a sh*t when you’re drunk,” is an example he used when discussing whether Graham was conscious during intercourse with Alvarado.
“Even if she was having the greatest time of her f***ing life,” he added.
The defense then questioned if Postma watered things down to Alvarado to elicit a false statement.
“I ensure I have the most accurate information to perform a good test,” Postma testified.
Alvarado did not pass the first polygraph test and his responses contradicted his initial statements to Diamond.
He’d later fail the other three.
According to Postma, Alvarado’s story changed when it came to if Graham lost consciousness during sex.
Alvarado said she passed out about halfway through intercourse. He knew this because Graham stopped moaning and her eyes were closed, as if asleep.
Postma asked Alvarado questions about sexual deviancy as it relates to generating questions related to a sexual assault accusation.
Sexual deviancy is now characterized by psychologists as “paraphilic disorders.”
Paraphilic disorders pertain to sexual desires and behaviors involving another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death; or a desire for sexual behaviors involving unwilling persons or anyone unable to give consent.
The polygraph results are used as leverage to address statement inconsistencies and to enable Postma to “score a good chart,” rather than an instrument of intimidation, said the Judge.
“The results are not relevant,” said the Judge, “it’s all about how the statements are presented to the court.”
Shortly before a 90 minute lunch recess, arguments presented to the court by the defense and prosecution posed a multiple choice question to the Judge.