NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A jury will decide whether a man committed sexual assault by placing his genitals on the neck of an unconscious man in a crowded New Orleans restaurant.
Brian Downing, 33, is charged with sexual battery and obscenity for the Jan. 9 incident at a Bourbon street eatery after Louisiana State University lost to Alabama in the national BCS championship football game, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.
A video of the alleged assault spread worldwide via the Internet.
The Alabama man's attorneys say equating what the defendant is accused of doing with a sexual assault such as rape makes no sense.
"Charging him with sexual battery demands actual victims of sexual violence," said lawyer Miles Swanson. "There's nothing sexual about it ... The whole harm is like a social concept. The victim doesn't remember anything."
However, under Louisiana law, sexual battery is defined as "the intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim by the offender using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the offender, or the touching of the anus or genitals of the offender by the victim using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the victim," when there is no consent.
Christopher Bowman, spokesman for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office, said he couldn't comment on an open case.
Downing turned down a plea deal that would have resulted in a two-year jail sentence without his having to register as a sex offender. So now his trial is to begin Tuesday in an Orleans Parish courtroom. If found guilty, Downing could face up to 10 years in prison.
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