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Major: I had to get drunk at boss' party

Sept. 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM   |   Comments

FORT CARSON, Colo., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- An Army major based at Fort Carson, Colo., faces discharge after a party in which he says he was forced by superior officers to drink until he blacked out.

Maj. Christopher Garbarino, 36, faces charges of drunken mischief and inappropriate sexual contact during a party at the home of a commander, Stars and Stripes reported Monday.

Garbarino's attorney says he was a victim of hazing, pressured by his battalion commander to attend the party and drink heavily.

Garbarino says he ended up so drunk he has no memory of the crimes he allegedly committed.

Lt. Col. David Chiarenza, who held the party at his home in March, told investigators the party was intended to meet new officers and mingle socially.

He denied anyone had to drink if they didn't want to, but other officers in attendance said that drinking was an unofficial requirement. "It felt like a frat party," one lieutenant said.

Ernesto Gapasin, Garbarino's attorney, said his client was forced to drink a mixture of vodka, rum, whiskey, Diet Coke and hot sauce because he showed up in uniform. Others at the party described Garbarino as incoherent and stumbling within a few hours.

Garbarino began hugging some of the 30 officers there, including the only female officer. He is accusing of fondling her breasts. When he began shoving officers, they taped his hands and feet together.

A 15-year veteran, Garbarino served three tours in Iraq Afghanistan. If convicted of the charges, he could be tossed out the Army and lose his retirement.

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