Alabama fan pleads guilty to obscene taunt after BCS title game

October 2, 2012

It’s one thing to revel in the excitement of a national championship victory that came at the expense of a fierce rival.

Brian Downing, pictured on Jan. 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of obscenity for his lewd prank after Alabama’s national championship victory. (Gerald Herbert / AP)

It’s another thing entirely to celebrate that victory by doing what Alabama fan Brian H. Downing did to an unsuspecting LSU fan last January.

Downing pleaded guilty Tuesday to obscenity charges, nine months after he was caught on video performing a lewd act to taunt a passed out Tigers fan shortly after the Crimson Tide defeated LSU in the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

The video quickly went viral, and now Downing is facing a two-year prison sentence.

Downing, who has 1-year-old son, could have received up to 10 years for his charges, which included sexual battery, but prosecutors struck a plea deal with Downing, the Associated Press reported. He will be sentenced on Nov. 29 and will not be required to register as a sex offender.

The passed out LSU fan, who reportedly withdrew from school, sued Downing for damages, claiming “mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and depression … damage to reputation.”

“When you put your genitals on someone’s body, someone who is passed out, that’s not a prank,” Christopher Bowman, spokesman for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro told the Associated Press. “I don’t think people would be asking that question if the defendant had done it to a passed-out woman.”

The plea comes one day after fellow Alabama fan Harvey Updyke was scheduled to go on trial for allegedly poisoning Auburn University’s iconic Toomer’s Corner oak trees during the Tigers’ 2010 national title run. Updyke, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, surrendered for psychiatric testing at a state mental facility on Thursday, which will likely delay his trial.

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