Seven Paratroopers Charged in Gay Porn Case

The Army has charged seven paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division with engaging in sex acts in videos shown on a gay pornography website. Three of the soldiers face courts-martial on charges of sodomy, pandering and engaging in sex acts for money, according to a statement released by the military Friday. Four other soldiers received what the military called nonjudicial punishments. The Army has recommended that all the paratroopers involved be discharged.

The charges do not mention the name of the site, but the division had been investigating allegations that soldiers appeared on a gay pornography website. A spokesman for the division said Friday’s charges were a result of that investigation.

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Steve Ralls, spokesman for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a legal group that helps gays and lesbians in the military, said the charges indicated the soldiers’ behavior was “a much more serious matter than just their sexual orientation.” Ralls said, “I’m not going to make excuses for service members who are taking part in sexual conduct for money. It would be absolutely criminal regardless of whether they were heterosexual or gay.”

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The three soldiers who face courts-martial are: Spc. Richard T. Ashley, Pfc. Wesley K. Mitten and Pvt. Kagen B. Mullen.

Ralls’ point is worth emphasizing: These charges are not related to the homosexual nature of the offenses. While being filmed having gay sex would certainly be enough to establish a prima facie cause of violating the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, it would merely lead to administrative discharge. Indeed, four of the seven are not being charged with a crime at all, just minor breaches of military protocol.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    I should hope that anyone involved in similar behavior-heterosexual or homosexual oriented would face similar punishments.

  2. G A PHILLIPS says:

    JUST SAY NO!