EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A military jury ignored an Air Force captain's plea for leniency Wednesday, sentencing him to 50 years in prison for raping four men and attempting to rape two others.
The sentence was delivered a day after nine Air Force officers serving on Capt. Devery L. Taylor's court-martial jury found him guilty of all charges against him for drugging and kidnapping servicemen he met in bars. Taylor was dismissed from the Air Force and will not be eligible for parole for 20 years.
Earlier Wednesday, the 38-year-old former hospital administrator asked jurors to consider a sentence of 10 years. His civilian attorney, Martin Regan, said Taylor had no criminal history and an outstanding military record in his four years of service.
Taylor was convicted of two counts of attempted sodomy, four counts of forcible sodomy, two counts of kidnapping and one count of unlawful entry.
"Each of these victims met the accused only briefly, but they will suffer the rest of their lives," said Capt. Eveylon Westbrook, a military prosecutor.
Taylor had testified that he had consensual sex with five of the men and that the sixth, who is openly gay, raped him. His attorney said the men lied to protect their military careers.
"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 read Wednesday by a military defense attorney assisting in the case.
Taylor said he feared he was the victim of a "gay round up" when military investigators interviewed him in 2006 and said that is why he did not fully answer their questions in a five-hour videotaped interview.
Four of the men he was convicted of assaulting were in the military when they met Taylor. A fifth wanted to join the Navy and feared being identified as gay, Regan said.
Taylor's only crime was being gay in the military and violating the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans people who are openly gay from serving in the armed forces, Regan said.
Each of the six men testified during the nine-day court-martial and said they drank with Taylor at bars, later felt drugged and were assaulted by him. Two of the men are Air Force officers.
The victims submitted letters for the jury to consider at sentencing. Westbrook said the letters describe how being raped has caused depression and problems in some of their marriages and jobs.
Sheriff's deputies in August charged another man with helping Taylor rape one of the six victims on March 23. Radoslaw Czaban, 38, of Okaloosa Island, is awaiting trial on charges of being a principal to sexual battery and false imprisonment.