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A former University of Tennessee football player indicted on multiple sex-related charges involving a 15-year-old Sevier County boy last year may stay out of jail and keep a clean record.
Lawyers in the state's case against Joshua Briscoe, 24, confirmed this week that they'd reached a tentative deal.
"We do have an agreement and we look forward to resolving this case," Joe Baker, Briscoe's defense attorney, said Thursday.
Briscoe, who prosecutors say has no criminal history, is charged with one count of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of solicitation of a minor stemming from a text message sent to the boy last year. He was an assistant Pigeon Forge High School coach at the time.
Under the law, Briscoe qualifies for pre-trial diversion, which means the case will be expunged from his record if he completes terms of the agreement that could include something like community service.
"The terms are still being hammered out," said Tim Norris, the assistant district attorney general with the 4th Judicial District handling the case.
Neither he nor Baker would release those details.
The agreement being prepared by the lawyers must be endorsed by Circuit Judge Rex Henry Ogle. If he does not approve it and Briscoe is convicted, Briscoe faces probation and up to two years in prison.
Baker has said the case is the result of authorities interpreting innocent comments in the worst light possible and referred to the text as locker room banter. While an assistant coach, Briscoe was accused of sending the inappropriate text to a member of the football team on Aug. 20, 2009. He resigned shortly after the allegations. According to his arrest warrant, the text said, "You owe me a lil [sic] action for going off like that," and then suggested a particular sexual favor.
"This statement directly places Mr. Briscoe stating that (the player) owed Mr. Briscoe a sexual favor for 'going off,' " Pigeon Forge Police Detective Rene Kendall wrote in a report. Kendall speculated that the "going off" comment referred to "some kind of attitude" the player exhibited that Briscoe witnessed. The investigation did not uncover any other improper conduct between Briscoe and the player.
The day of his arrest he was released on $7,500 bond. A grand jury indicted him in July.
Briscoe lettered at UT from 2005-08. He caught 79 passes for 866 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He had five career starts at receiver.
He was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and once blogged about his training regimen for a possible shot at professional football at http://govolsxtra.com, the News Sentinel's website devoted to UT sports.
Natalie Neysa Alund may be reached at 865-342-6307.