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Air Force Cadet Sentenced

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Oct 2, 2003 12:00 AM PDT    Text size: 
COLORADO SPRINGS – Air Force Academy Cadet Sterling Barnes of Topeka, Kan. was sentenced today by general court martial for using government computers to run an online porn site from his air force dormitory room. Barnes was also accused of arranging group sex orgies through his website and selling videos of himself having sex with multiple partners.

The 24-year-old cadet originally faced a possible sentence of 14 years in federal prison for conduct considered unbecoming to an officer. But today he was given a significantly lighter sentencing of nine months confinement, a dishonorable discharge, and the loss of pay and benefits from his four years at the academy, estimated at around $120,000.

Barnes was charged on Sept. 17 with several violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He was accused of using government-provided hardware and software to advertise and sell pornography for commercial gain, and with viewing, displaying, and storing obscene material using government-provided computer equipment.

Additional charges included engaging in sexual intercourse with women while other men were present, and wrongfully arranging for another man other than himself to engage in acts of sexual intercourse with a woman, an action that is prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces, according to a spokesperson from the academy's public affairs office.

Barnes pled guilty to all charges and specifications after waiving his right to a trial by jury.

The cadet was said to have apologized to the military court for any wrongdoing.

"I cannot say how sorry I am to the court, my fellow cadets, the air force and my family," he was quoted as saying at his sentencing. "There is no one to blame but myself for these actions."

Prosecutors in the case against Barnes originally sought a much stiffer penalty. Barnes' defense attorney has not said whether he will appeal the judgment.

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