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Alabama Fan Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Battery

NEW ORLEANS -- An Alabama fan pleaded not guilty Monday to committing sexual battery on an unconscious LSU fan after the BCS national title game, which was caught on video.

Brian H. Downing, 32, of Smiths Station, Ala., was arraigned on one count each of sexual battery of a male victim and obscenity.

His attorney Michael Kennedy said he tried to get the bond reduced, but the judge left it at $50,000.

A video that went viral on the Internet appeared to show someone in a University of Alabama jacket abusing the unconscious man after the Crimson Tide beat LSU for the BCS football championship on Jan. 9.

In the video, a man appears to perform a simulated sex act on the LSU fan.

The LSU fan, whose name has not been released, has filed a civil lawsuit against Downing.

The lawsuit does not specify a dollar figure for damages. It says the LSU fan suffered "mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety and depression ... damage to reputation" and lost tuition payments "for having to withdraw from school."

Downing has not been served with that lawsuit, Kennedy said.

Kennedy said Downing also has suffered since then. He and his wife are getting by on her salary and donations from her family and his, Kennedy said. The couple has an 8-month-old son.

"He was fired from the job he held since college, and can't get another one because of the charge against him," Kennedy said. "He's not receiving unemployment."

The trial date was set for Sept. 4. A pretrial hearing will be held July 23.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press


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