NANJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- An east China university associate professor was sentenced Thursday to three and a half years in jail for organizing group sex parties.P The Qinhuai District People's Court in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, handed down verdicts to 22 people, including associate professor Ma Yaohai, after convicting them on charges of group licentiousness.
Ma was given three and a half years, and 18 others were sentenced to jail terms of up to two and a half years. Three were exempted from criminal punishment as they turned themselves in.
"Ringleaders and persons who repeatedly take part in licentious activities shall be sentenced to fixed-terms of imprisonment of no more than five years, criminal detention or public surveillance," article 301 of China's criminal law says.
Legal experts said it is the first time in 20 years someone has been given a criminal penalty for the crime of group licentiousness.
The court heard how 14 men and eight women met through an online chat room and engaged in group sex activities from 2007 to 2009.
The procurators found Ma organized and participated in 18 orgies, 14 of which took place at his home. The 21 others organized or each participated in three to 16 parties.
Ma, 53, a computer science professor at Nanjing University of Technology, admitted the facts, but argued that as all the defendants were voluntary adult participants, they were not guilty of any crime.
However, the chief judge said group licentiousness infringed upon public order.
Ma's defender, Yao Yong'an, told Xinhua Ma will appeal the conviction and sentence.
The 21 other defendants admitted guilt, said Qinhuai District prosecutors.
A police spokesman said they caught Ma after receiving reports of sex parties in August 2009.
Monogamy, with loyalty at its core, is the most ideal and accepted form of marriage and deserves respect and protection, said Yuan Jiuhong, an expert on marriage and sex ethics with Nanjing Southeast University.
"Swingers clubs and sex parties are unethical. Unethical behavior will harm the fabric of society, disrupt relationships and bring chaos to society."