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Guilty pleas in cruise gay sex case

Two American men have pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in Dominica after they were arrested during a stop on a gay cruise of the Caribbean.

John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, of Palm Springs, California apologised in court and said they regretted their actions.

Police said they were seen having sex in plain sight of people on land, prompting officers to board the ship and arrest them on Wednesday. The eastern Caribbean island prohibits sex between two men.

The men's lawyer, Bernadette Lambert, said they were remorseful.

"They were struck by the beautiful mountains, the clean and clear fresh air and were having a few cocktails, and so threw caution to the wind," she told the court.

Chief Magistrate Evaline Baptiste ordered the men to pay a nearly 900 US dollar fine after calling them "rogues and vagabonds". They made no comment after the hearing and police drove the men to the airport after they were released.

The two were aboard the Celebrity Summit cruise ship that had departed Puerto Rico on Saturday with about 2,000 passengers. The ship departed for St Barts late on Wednesday, leaving the men behind.

The cruise was organised by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specialises in gay travel.

President Rich Campbell said on Thursday that the outcome of the case would have been the same had it involved a heterosexual couple instead of two gay men.

"It had nothing to do with their sexual orientation and everything to do with their public conduct," he said. "I have been in contact with the guests and they are in good spirits."

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