September 26, 2012
Maj. Christopher Garbarino of Fort Carson was convicted Tuesday of being drunk and disorderly at a party he attended March 2nd, but was not guilty of the more serious charges against him of sexual assault, post spokeswoman Dee McNutt said late Tuesday.
McNutt stated that Maj. Christopher Garbarino will be sentenced Wednesday morning. He faces a maximum of three months confinement and will be forced to forfeit two-thirds of his pay and benefits, officials said.
Garbarino, 36, who has served in the Army for 15 years, faced up to five years confinement and dismissal from the Army on the assault charges.
During closing, defense lawyer Ernesto Gapasin said that Garbarino was obeying orders to drink at a “frat like” party that included hazing, and that doing so led to his client’s disorderly behavior.
Garbarino went on to state that “everyone at the party was disorderly.”
Prosecution witnesses allege that a drunken Garbarino approached 2nd Lt. Yarelis Ramos-Perez, the battalion’s only female, and gave her a hug before groping her breast.
In closing arguments, Gapasin said that Garbarino gave Ramos-Perez and other officers “hugs of camaraderie” but denied the groping allegation.
Prosecutor Capt. Matthew Firing argued that it was Garbarino’s choice — not his comrades’ — to “get completely and utterly obliterated.”
“Not one person can say that the accused was forced or ordered to drink,” Firing said. “Since when do we ever excuse criminal conduct due to peer pressure?”
Firing ended his rebuttal arguments with a call for the court-martial panel of seven to hold Garbarino accountable so that young officers “understand that the accused’s actions are not okay.”
He also accused a member of Garbarino’s defense of asking Ramos-Perez to change her sworn statement to assist Garbarino.