WASHINGTON – A Naval Academy midshipman convicted of sexually assaulting a fellow student should spend two years in prison and be dismissed from the Navy, a military jury said Tuesday.
The decision will be reviewed by academy superintendent Vice Admiral Rodney Rempt.
Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, showed little reaction as the jury's decision was announced. He shook his attorney's hand, then glanced at the victim as he left the courtroom.
A jury of seven Navy and Marine Corps officers found Morrison guilty Monday of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for forcing himself on a female midshipman at a Washington hotel in February 2006. Prosecutors had sought a three to five-year prison term along with dismissal from the Navy.
Morrison pleaded for leniency Tuesday as the jury considered his penalty, saying he had already been punished enough.
He said will have to register as a sex offender, likely have to repay the $140,000 cost of his education at the Annapolis military school, and probably have to forgo his dream of eventually becoming governor of Texas, his home state.
Morrison apologized to the academy and its alumni. "I still love the Navy with all my heart," he said.
Testifying for the prosecution, the woman said her life has also been irreparably changed. She said she had fallen asleep in a hotel room and awoke to find Morrison in the room.
"I've lost part of myself I can't get back," the woman, now a senior, testified.
Morrison said he stumbled across her by accident when he was looking for a place to sleep, and that she came on to him.
He was also court-martialed for another alleged assault on the woman two months later at an Annapolis apartment but was found not guilty. Allegations that Morrison used a "date rape" drug on the woman were dropped because of problems with forensic evidence.
Morrison was the second Navy football player to be court-martialed for sexual assault in 12 months. Last summer, star quarterback Lamar Owens Jr. was cleared of rape but found guilty of lesser offenses. The academy superintendent recommended he be dismissed without graduating. The Navy secretary is reviewing the recommendation.
On Tuesday, Owens sat next to Morrison's parents in court and showed the midshipman passages from the Bible during a break.