Alabama Fan Brian Downing Pleads Guilty In Obscenity Case Involving LSU Fan
The Alabama fan caught on a webcam rubbing his genitals in the face of an unconscious LSU fan after the National Championship Game last January in New Orleans has plead guilty to obscenity charges.
In a last minute plea deal with prosecutors, 33-year old Brian Downing received a two-year jail sentence. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino says it was the best deal Downing could get:
He had virtually no defense. The law and the facts were squarely against his position that what he did was essentially a prank. It did fit all of the elements for sexual battery. This is about as good a compromise as he could expect.
The video of Downing's sexual assault went viral on the Internet. Before the plea deal, Downing was facing 10 years in prison and would have been required to register as a sex offender. Ciolino says Downing's defense could not get around the damning evidence seen on the YouTube video:
It's just a lesson to be learned that with ubiquitous video cameras and cell phones that virtually everything that you do now is on the record and that could be on the record of a court proceeding.
The deal emerged Tuesday morning after negotiations between Downing's lawyers and Orleans Parish prosecutors. Under the agreement, Downing will not be required to register as a convicted sex offender. Ciolino says that may have played a key roll in reaching the agreement:
Obviously, that's something that was a part of what drove this plea deal but he still is a convicted felon and that stigma will follow him the rest of his life.
Downing will be sentenced on November 26.