SEVIERVILLE - A former University of Tennessee football player-turned high school assistant coach has been indicted for allegedly trying to engage in sex crimes with a 15-year-old male student athlete, according to court records released Thursday.
Josh Briscoe, 23, was named in a three-count indictment charging him with one count of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of solicitation of a minor stemming from a text message sent last year, court records show.
Briscoe’s attorney, Joe Baker, said the case is the result of authorities interpreting innocent comments in the worst light possible.
“I’m not surprised by the indictment,” Baker said. “It’s unfortunate that what is otherwise locker room banter has to be played out in the court system. I think in the end it will be seen for what it is — joking that was inappropriate.”
Briscoe was working as an assistant coach at Pigeon Forge High School last summer when he was accused of sending the inappropriate text message to a member of the football team on Aug. 20, 2009, according to court records. He resigned after the allegations were made.
He later surrendered to Pigeon Forge Police Department officers to face a charge of solicitation of a minor by an authority figure and was released on bond. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing in February, which moved his case into the hands of a grand jury for further action.
According to the arrest warrant filed last year, the offensive text mssage 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 Department Investigator 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.
Kendall also said the investigation hadn’t uncovered any other improper conduct between Briscoe and the player.
Briscoe lettered at UT from 2005-2008. He caught 79 passes for 866 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He had five career starts.
He was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and once blogged about his training regimen for a possible shot at pro football at govolsxtra.com, the News Sentinel’s website devoted to UT sports.
J.J. Stambaugh may be reached at 865-342-6307.