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The Alabama fan who simulated a sex act on a passed-out LSU fan in a viral video could spend the next two years in prison, the Associated Press reports.
Brian H. Downing, 33, of Smiths Station, Ala., exposed his genitals and pretended to sodomize an unconscious man in a Louisiana State University jersey at a Bourbon Street restaurant in January. The incident took place after Alabama beat LSU in the BCS national title game.
Downing initially faced charges including sexual battery, and could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted. But just as his trial was set to begin, Downing agreed to a plea bargain, the AP reports.
In Brian Downing's plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop the sexual battery charge, which could have required the married father to register as a sex offender upon conviction.
Under Louisiana law, sexual battery is defined simply as an "intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim ... using any body part of the offender." Because the viral video showed Downing rubbing his genitals on the victim, it's likely Downing would have been convicted.
But instead of taking his chances at trial, Downing pleaded guilty to two counts of obscenity, the "intentional exposure of the genitals ... in any public place" that "appeals to prurient interest or is patently offensive." This type of obscenity does not require registration as a sex offender in Louisiana, according to the Louisiana State Police.
Downing's sentencing is scheduled for November, when he's expected to face a two-year prison term. But Downing's criminal defense lawyer told the AP his client would probably serve about nine months.
Though Downing's plea deal avoided a criminal trial, he's still facing a civil lawsuit brought by the unconscious LSU fan.
The unnamed fan seeks compensation for "mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and depression." He also wants Downing to reimburse him for tuition, as the viral incident forced him to withdraw from school, the victim's lawsuit states.
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