U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Sentenced to 25 Years for Sexual Assault

nixon keago
Keago, center, at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in 2016 (USN file image)

Published Aug 16, 2020 11:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexual assault and a range of related charges. 

Nixon Keago, a Kenyan-born student who played as a midfielder on the school's soccer team, was court-martialed last October. Prosecutors accused him of committing burglary, obstruction of justice, attempted sexual assault and sexual assault in connection with four separate attacks on three female midshipmen.

According to prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Paul LaPlante, Keago allegedly broke into a victim's room and assaulted her while she was asleep. He allegedly attacked two other female midshipmen during a Fleet Week cruise in New York. Prosecutors said that afterwards, he pressured a victim to lie about the circumstances of the case, leading to a charge of obstruction of justice. 

The last incident allegedly occurred after Keago knew that he was facing court-martial. Given the pattern, a government witness specializing in forensic recidivism testified that Keago had a high likelihood of committing repeat offenses. 

In July, the court-martial's seven-member panel convicted him of these charges, but sentencing was delayed when Keago developed symptoms of COVID-19. Proceedings resumed on August 14, and the court sentenced him to discharge from the military and 25 years in prison - less than the prosecution's request for 40 years and much less than the maximum, 120 years.

Keago plans to appeal, according to the Capital Gazette. In addition, his family intends to file a civil suit against the U.S. Naval Academy regarding member selection and the racial composition of the panel.