Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Bama Fan Pleads Not Guilty in Videotaped Assault on LSU Fan

An Alabama fan's "genital assault" on an unconscious LSU fan has led to criminal charges that could result in a lengthy prison sentence, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

A grand jury indicted Brian Downing, 32, of Smiths Station, Ala., on charges of sexual battery and obscenity. Downing pleaded not guilty, and "does not acknowledge" being the man seen in a viral Internet video taken after Alabama beat LSU at the BCS national title game Jan. 9, his attorney said.

In the video, a Crimson Tide fan at a Bourbon Street restaurant unzips his pants and places his genitals on an unconscious LSU fan's neck as others snap photos. The Bama fan then acts like he is sodomizing the LSU fan.

It may have been meant as a joke, but New Orleans police, prosecutors, and grand jurors didn't find it funny.

Sexual battery -- "the intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim ... using any body part of the offender," under Louisiana law -- carries a possible 10 years in prison, while obscenity can be punished by up to three years in jail and a $2,500 fine, according to the Times-Picayune.

A judge set Brian Downing's bail at $50,000. He was apparently able to post bond and was released from custody. A trial date is set for Sept. 4.

In addition to criminal charges, Downing also faces a civil lawsuit brought by the unnamed victim.

The LSU fan suffered "mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and depression," damage to his reputation, and lost tuition "for having to withdraw from school," his lawsuit states, according to the Associated Press.

The LSU fan's suit does not specify a dollar amount for damages. Downing has yet to be served with the suit, his attorney told the AP.

Brian Downing turned himself in after his cousin, the sheriff of Russell County, Ala., recognized him as the man in the LSU fan assault video, Yahoo! Sports reports. Downing is a married father of an 8-month-old son.

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