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

BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE 08-16-2020 11:02:53

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.

The Marine Corps has temporarily dismissed charges against a junior officer who has accused of having ties to white supremacists so that investigators can look into new allegations of misconduct, a Corps spokesman said on Monday.

Marine 2nd Lt. Felippe Maher had been slated to appear before a general court-martial later this month before the case was withdrawn on Sept. 9.

The charges against Maher were dismissed without prejudice, which means they can still be brought to a court-martial, said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command.

The prosecution decided to start the case over in light of recent alleged misconduct that was discovered two weeks prior to Maher’s original trial date, said Stephenson, who declined to comment about what the latest allegations against Maher entail because the matter is currently under investigation.

Maher had been charged with violating a lawful general order for allegedly advocating supremacist and extremist doctrine; making a false official statement for allegedly saying he never belonged to a white supremacist group; wrongfully getting a tattoo that is affiliated with extremists; conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and wrongfully trying to possess steroids, Stephenson told Task & Purpose in March.

Marine officials first confirmed in June 2019 that Maher was under investigation after a Twitter user shared what appeared to be racist pictures and video posted on Maher’s Snapchat account, including the use of a racial epithet to describe former President Barack Obama.

The Twitter user also shared a picture of a man who bears a resemblance to Maher standing near white supremacist Richard Spencer at a Nazi rally, but Task & Purpose has been unable to determine if the man in the picture is actually Maher.

Maher’s defense counsel could not be reached for comment on Monday.

A defence force serviceman in uniform by a military grade vehicle
Captain William Michael Howieson was the ADF liaison officer at the Taurama barracks when the incident allegedly took place.(Supplied)

The court martial of an Army captain facing charges of indecency and bringing discredit to the Australian Defense Force has heard his accuser had a motive to lie.

Captain William Michael Howieson, 29, was the ADF liaison officer with the Papua New Guinea defence force during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby at the time of the alleged offence in 2018.

Captain Howieson is accused of asking a PNG army nurse to examine him for a lump in his groin.

She told the court that when he took his pants down, he had an erection, and she could find no lump.

She also told the court about a later incident when she said he had brought what he said was a doctor’s note asking her to help him collect sperm over five days.

Captain Howieson denies either incident happened.

“I don’t recall going into treatment room one,” he told the court martial.

Prosecutor Brigadier Jennifer Woodward cross-examined him, putting each allegation to him.

Brigadier Woodward: “You went into treatment room one with the pretext of seeking medical treatment from her.”

Captain Howieson: “No, ma’am.”

Brigadier Woodward: “You used the pretext … to get some sexual thrill by having [the complainant] touch your groin.”

Captain Howieson: “No.”

Captain Howieson has maintained he went to the health unit twice on one day, delivering first medical supplies and then T-shirts, something Brigadier Woodward queried.

“You did not bring T-shirts with you,” she said.

“I did take T-shirts on the sixteenth,” he replied.

Allowances a source of tension and motive, court martial hears

The court martial heard the pair had met before when the PNG army nurse had asked for his help stocking an ambulance provided by the Chinese government.

The woman had also asked for fuel.

Captain Howieson said he was able to help with most of it, but that the woman was flustered about extra allowances, which he had paid in the past, not being paid.

Brigadier Woodward questioned his account.

“The fact is you made it up because it’s just too awful for you to admit what you did,” she said.

“No,” he replied.

Captain Howieson’s lawyers told the court the allowances had been a source of tension, and were a motive for the alleged victim to lie.

They also suggested he had too much to lose to risk it on an “elaborate scheme for sexual gratification”.

The court was told Captain Howieson had been planning his career since he joined the cadets at 13, and would be unlikely to just throw it all away.

The five-member court martial panel will resume on Monday.

Madigan Army Medical Center is shown in this handout photo from July 11, 2014.
Madigan Army Medical Center is shown in this handout photo from July 11, 2014.  COURTESY

A senior leader assigned to Madigan Army Medical center and Regional Health Command Pacific has been found not guilty in a sexual assault case involving a civilian employee at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Col. Daniel McKay was charged with three violations of the uniform code of military justice: one violation of article 120, abusive sexual contact; one violation of article 128, assault consummated by a battery; and one violation of article 133, conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. He was acquitted of all charges.

The court-martial began Monday, Aug. 31, with panel selection. Because of McKay’s rank, all eight members of the panel were one-star generals. On Wednesday, Sept. 2, opening statements were made. On Thursday, the panel deliberated for just over an hour before delivering the not-guilty verdict.

Judge advocates for the government, essentially military prosecutors, said between May and June 2019, McKay, who serves as the director of organization and leader development at Madigan, behaved inappropriately in two meetings with a woman who works at the hospital.

The defense argued the woman’s story changed repeatedly over the last 14 months.

McKay was represented by Jocelyn Stewart, a civilian attorney who specializes in military defense. She served in the Army Judge Advocate Generals Corps from 2004 to 2012.

McKay has served in the U.S. military since 1984. He has been stationed at JBLM since 2013 and previously served as the chief nursing officer at Madigan.

During her testimony, the woman said she first met McKay in May 2019 when he came into her office to ask questions about a pending credentialing action. At that meeting, she says McKay told her she was “looking really good” and that she looked like she’d lost weight. When the woman went to end the meeting, she said she extended her hand to shake his. She alleged that, instead of shaking her hand, McKay used both hands to stroke her arm.

The woman told her supervisor the incident made her uncomfortable, but she didn’t report it because she says she feared losing her job.

The woman is a civilian employee at Madigan, although she served in the Army for three years previously.

Judge advocates for the government said in a second meeting in June 2019, McKay allegedly ran his hand up the inside of the woman’s thigh. During that encounter, the woman made an excuse to leave the room and told a coworker what was going on. After that meeting, the accuser made a formal complaint about both incidents.

During his testimony, McKay said he never touched the woman’s thigh. He did acknowledge having made a comment about her losing weight, which he called “unwise.” He also said that he used a two-handed handshake in their first meeting when she says he stroked her arm.

In closing arguments on Thursday, Stewart said that there were inconsistencies in the government’s case stemming from a lack of proper investigation on their part. Stewart said that once the woman made a formal complaint about the two incidents, leadership at Madigan launched an Army regulation 15-6 investigation. However, the woman was the only person interviewed for that investigation, according to Stewart.

Stewart said the accuser gave at least three accounts of the events: one during the 15-6 investigation, one to Army criminal investigation division CID investigators and one at trial. Each time, Stewart said, the woman gave differing accounts of where McKay allegedly touched her, how he touched her, what she was wearing.

Stewart said that, when questioned about the first incident, the accuser told investigators with the Army’s criminal investigation division that she “overreacted to a harmless situation.”

Stewart argued the woman was afraid for her job, not because of McKay’s influence as a colonel in the Army, but because she’d made a professional mistake regarding McKay’s credentialing action paperwork.

“Senior leaders give their power and their trust over when they step behind a closed door with someone,” Stewart said. “Col. McKay had no idea he put his trust in a person with so many deficits.”

A U.S. Navy senior chief is facing court-martial over allegations of rape and aggravated assault, including an incident where prosecutors say he kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach, according to court records.

Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Randy W. Tompkins is accused of kicking the woman in San Diego in September 2017, and of pointing a loaded gun and a knife at a woman in Waldorf, Maryland, roughly eight months later, according to his charge sheet.

Victim names are redacted in the charge sheet provided to Navy Times, so it remains unclear how many people have accused the senior chief of crimes.

Navy Times does not name victims of alleged sexual assault.

Tompkins’ service record shows he was assigned to the Information Warfare Training Center in San Diego at the time of several of his alleged crimes, and then transferred to his current Washington, D.C., command, the Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group, in March 2018.

Several of the alleged crimes took place while he was stationed with U.S. Strategic Command.

Reached by phone this week, Tompkins declined to comment.

Prosecutors allege that Tompkins raped a woman in San Diego in October 2017, and he faces a charge for “causing bodily harm” to a woman during a sexual assault the following month, according to charge sheets.

The senior chief faces several other assault charge specifications stemming from various alleged incidents in recent years.

He is accused of striking an unnamed victim in the face on several occasions from August 2016 to March 2018 in San Diego, and of dragging a woman by her hair during the same time period, according to charge sheets.

Tompkins is charged with allegedly strangling an individual on several dates from October 2016 to March 2018 as well.

The senior chief faces another aggravated assault charge specification for allegedly striking a woman on the tailbone “with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm” in October 2016, and for pushing someone and causing them to fall down the stairs on various occasions from November 2016 to September 2017, according to charge sheets.

Tompkins also stands accused of suffocating an individual by covering their mouth and nose with his hand in December 2017.

His general court-martial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2 at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., according to the court docket.

A New Hampshire native, Tompkins enlisted in 1999 and was promoted to E-8 in 2015, according to his service record.