An Army paratrooper has pleaded guilty to partaking in sexual activities featured on a gay porn site.

Richard T. Ashley, one of seven members of the 82nd Airborne Division accused of sodomy (which is still illegal in the American army), pandering and engaging in sexual acts for payment, was sentenced to 90 days in prison and was demoted to a private.

He will also lose two thirds of his pay and will get a bad conduct discharge, he said: ”I’ve embarrassed the entire Army, my country and, most of all, dishonoured God.”

Two other accused recruits have pleaded not guilty and four have been given nonjudicial punishment.

The charges do not explicitly mention the name of the website in question. However, a spokesperson confirmed that the charges directly relate to an investigation into pictures posted on the ActiveDuty website. The military-themed Web site did not make any direct reference to the division or Fort Bragg, a sprawling post about 70 miles south of Raleigh.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s isolated to the unit, and our investigation determined that these seven individuals were the only ones” involved, said 82nd Airborne spokesman Major Thomas Earnhardt.

The charges indicate the soldiers’ behaviour is “a much more serious matter than just their sexual orientation,” said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Servicemembers Legal Defense Netowrk, a legal group that helps gays and lesbians in the military.

“I’m not going to make excuses for service members who are taking part in sexual conduct for money,” said Steve Ralls of Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, a legal group that helps gays and lesbians in the military.. “It would be absolutely criminal regardless of whether they were heterosexual or gay.”