The Prague Castle Guard has found itself at the centre of yet another scandal. After a case in 2002 in which an army psychologist was found guilty of sexually abusing members of the castle guard, it has now come to light that in May nine members of the prestigious unit posed for a gay pornographic web site. Dressed, or partially dressed, in their castle uniforms. An incident that few in the military will be too happy about.
Pornography on the internet - for some the epitome of everything wrong with the modern world, for others a normal outlet - perfectly legal, and psychologists would say natural, when involving consenting adults, no one against their will and no one underage. But who would have guessed that soldiers from the elite Czech Castle Guard would begin posing for a pornographic internet web site? An embarrassment for the Czech military not least, because the photo shoot last month was organised not by conscripted youths, but by a professional solider - an unnamed sergeant major who has since given up his post. The weekly Tyden broke the story on Monday, and the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes has since indicated that the candid pictures of the nine Castle guard members were available for two weeks before the military intervened. The pictures are no longer available and the incident has become a matter of investigation for the military police.
The question remains what kind of punishment, if any will the soldiers face? Although tarnishing the image of the elite Castle Guard, all were obviously of age. According to available information, none was abused the way another soldier doing his service was accosted by an army psychologist after falling into drunken stupor in an earlier case from before 2002. If anything the soldiers here were at most coerced by the promise of 500 crowns per photo.
Lawyers, it has been pointed out, say the only questionable area deals with the degradation of the national uniform, though under Czech law the soldiers' behaviour does not constitute a crime, or even a misdemeanor, but simply a breach of discipline. The military has indicated there are several steps it can take: the nine soldiers involved could receive either an official rebuke, or lose rank, lose several days leave or even be sentenced to a military cell for up to fourteen days. In that light the possibilities are clear-cut: the more difficult task to gauge by the military now: not how to punish, but how to find a way of restoring the image of its once flawless elite guard.
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