The 43-year-old naturalized citizen from Nigeria, also known as “Akon” or “Africa,” had been charged in a nine-count indictment handed down in May 2019 with sexually abusing a total of seven female prisoners between 2012 and 2018. The other six women were willing to join the seventh victim in public testimony against Akparanta, prosecutors promised.
In exchange for his guilty plea and undefined restitution to the seven women, prosecutors plan to ask for a prison sentence of 36 to 47 months, less than one-third the maximum sentence of 12 years that Akparanta faces. He was scheduled for sentencing on July 8, 2020, but on June 4, 2020, his attorneys requested a delay until September 2020. Prosecutors did not object. He remains out of confinement on bail at his New Jersey home with his wife.
Akparanta allegedly smuggled feminine hygiene products, makeup and food to his victims to extort their cooperation in the abuse and its coverup. He also allegedly extorted the victims’ personal contact information from them so that he could continue to see them after their release.
“Correctional officers have a duty to protect federal inmates, but Akparanta allegedly abused his power over female inmates,” noted Special Agent-in-Charge Guido Modano, of the federal Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office New York branch.
“Colin Akparanta was a predator in uniform, exploiting his position to sexually abuse multiple inmates over a several-year period,” stated U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman at the time the guard was indicted. “No inmate in a (BOP) facility should fear sexual abuse at the hands of a correctional officer, and thankfully, Akparanta will have no more victims.”
Berman noted that his office “has prosecuted, and will continue to prosecute, correctional officers who use their positions to engage in criminal conduct.” He encouraged anyone with knowledge of criminal conduct involving prison guards to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
The same day that Akparanta pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan, MCC went on lockdown following reports that a loaded gun had been smuggled into the prison. BOP banned all visits with prisoners and pretrial detainees at MCC, even attorney visits, prompting an outcry from federal public defenders who complained the ban violated prisoners’ constitutional right to an attorney.
After an eight-day search, the gun was found in a prisoner’s cell. Other contraband recovered during the sweep included cellphones, narcotics and homemade weapons. U.S. v. Akparanta, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189273.
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Related legal case
U.S. v. Akparanta
|Cite||2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189273|