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US paratroopers charged in gay porn Internet site

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida, Feb 25 (Reuters) Seven paratroopers from the U.S. Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division have been charged with being paid to have sex that was filmed for a gay pornographic Web site, an Army spokesman said today.

Three men will face court-martial on charges of sodomy, pandering and engaging in sex for money while being filmed, said Pfc. James Wilt, an 82nd Airborne spokesman. Having sex while being taped is illegal under the U.S. Military Code of Justice.

Spc. Richard T. Ashley, Pfc. Wesley K. Mitten and Pvt.

Kagen B. Mullen, members of the 2nd Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, were to be arraigned on March 7.

Mullen was also charged with adultery.

Four others, whose names were not disclosed, will be demoted to private, placed on restriction and docked a month's pay.

''Further, they are being recommended for separation from the Army,'' said Wilt, who was interviewed by telephone from Fort Bragg, in North Carolina.

The 15,000-member division is housed at Fort Bragg, a sprawling military complex 70 miles (112 km) south of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The charges are a result of an investigation that began over a month ago into a pornographic Web site operated out of Fayetteville, North Carolina, home, Wilt said.

The US military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy prevents officials from querying recruits and troops on their sexual orientation but allows military officials to discharge members who are openly gay.

Reuters SK VP0210

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