A captain in the US Air Force who claimed that four men accusing him of drugging and raping them were lying to avoid being exposed as gay was sentenced yesterday.

He had been found guilty earlier in the week on four charges of forcible sodomy, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of attempted sodomy as well as one charge of unlawful entry.

Capt. Devery L. Taylor, had worked as a hospital administrator, was given 50 years in jail by a military jury of nine fellow officers.

Taylor, 38, had told the court that he had consensual sex with five of the men and was raped by the sixth.

Earlier in the trial the prosecution said that Capt. Taylor used the “date rape” drug GHB on the men, who all testified that they felt drugged after going drinking with Taylor.

A civilian is awaiting trial on charges of helping Taylor rape one of the men.

Taylor’s defence attorney had alleged that all the men were lying to avoid being exposed as gay.

Current Department of Defence policy on gays in the military means gay men, bisexuals or lesbians can serve in the Armed Forces as long as they conceal their orientation.

Four of the six men were serving in the Air Force while a fifth has aspirations to join the Navy.

“I want you to know how much I have loved being a part of the Air Force and serving this country. It has been difficult for me to be a part of the military and be who I am, which is a homosexual,” Taylor said in a written statement to the court, according to AP.

Taylor had claimed that he was worried that he was being targeted by military investigators because of his sexuality.

Since 1993, over 11,000 personnel have been dismissed because of their sexuality, while many others face harassment.

The case was heard at a Florida Air Force base.

The military jury found that he had drugged and raped the men, and recommended he not be eligible for parole for 20 years.

He was also dismissed from the Air Force.