Bama fan pleads guilty to lesser charges of obscenity

Brian Downing (Source: Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)
Brian Downing (Source: Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - The Alabama man accused of sexually assaulting a passed out LSU fan after the BCS National Championship has pleaded guilty to obscenity.

Brian Downing, 33, of Smiths Station, AL was indicted on sexual battery and obscenity charges in May. Sexual battery is a felony.

Prosecutors said he pleaded guilty to two counts of obscenity in a deal reached Tuesday morning before the scheduled start of trial.

"It's when someone exposes themselves, like he did...puts his genitals in another person's face, whether it's a man or a woman, I think there should be some punishment for that," said District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

WWL-TV in New Orleans reports the deal calls for him to be sentenced to two years in jail. State District Judge Karen Herman set sentencing for Nov. 29.

Conviction of obscenity carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. He would have faced up to 10 years if convicted of sexual battery.

Some LSU fans think this sentence is harsh.

"I think it's a little bit ridiculous to send somebody to jail for a sports rivalry. I mean it was stupid, but once again, there was drunk LSU fan demanding to get messed with by an Alabama fan," said Brett Chase.

Other fans say the punishment fits the crime.

"I think he's deserving of the sentence that he received," said Isaac Miller. "I don't think he should be treated like a murderer, but I definitely think he should be fined as well with the charges that he's received."

"It's definitely a big deal. I think that, I guess he might have to pay some consequences for that. But I guess maybe he'll just learn his lesson and other people won't do it in the future," said Jenna Tynes.

Downing was originally supposed to have his day in court beginning Sept. 4, but Hurricane Isaac caused a delay.

He was arrested after a video was posted on the internet that showed the alleged act on an unconscious LSU fan at a Bourbon Street restaurant.

A controversial video clip posted on YouTube showed a man believed to be an Alabama fan rubbing his genitals on the neck of an LSU fan that was passed out at a table.

Downing was later identified as the suspect in the now-infamous viral video.

The victim has filed a lawsuit against Downing and the Krystal Burger on Bourbon Street.

He said the restaurant's employees knew what the suspect was doing, but didn't intervene.

He wants damages for mental anguish, humiliation and damage to his reputation.

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