Courts-martial for elite soldiers on gay porn site
Three face criminal charges; four others get lesser punishments
From Mike Mount
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Seven U.S. soldiers from an elite Airborne division have been charged with "knowingly engaging in sex for money on a public Web site," the Army said Friday.
Three are charged with criminal offenses and face courts-martial, while the other four received nonjudicial punishments, the Army said in a written statement. The charges allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The men appeared on a gay pornography Web site that has a military theme, the Army said. (Full story)
The site did not mention the Army or the 82nd Airborne, but its domain name lists an address in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which neighbors Fort Bragg, where the 82nd is based.
A disclaimer on the Web site asks users to agree that they are not agents of the government, employees of the Department of Defense, law enforcement officers or reporters.
After a lengthy investigation beginning in January, authorities filed the charges and recommended that all seven men be discharged from the Army for serious misconduct.
Spc. Richard T. Ashley, Pfc. Wesley K. Mitten and Pvt. Kagen B. Mullen -- all from the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment -- are scheduled to be court-martialed, the Army said.
The charges against them include pandering, sodomy and "wrongfully engaging in sexual acts with another person while being filmed with the intent of broadcasting the images over the Internet for money." Mullen also is charged with adultery, the Army said.
The other men are accused of underage drinking, drunken driving and adultery.
They received the maximum nonjudicial punishment: They were demoted to privates, confined to their unit's area for 45 days, given 45 days of extra duty and forced to forfeit half their salaries for two months.
The 82nd Airborne is one of the most heralded units in the military. Its 15,000 paratroopers are trained to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours. Thousands have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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