An Irvine dad pleaded guilty today to throwing his 7-year-old son off a sightseeing boat in Newport Harbor into the path of oncoming boat traffic, the Orange County district attorney's office reported.
Under a plea deal reached today, Sloan Steven Briles, 35, pled guilty to one felony count of child abuse and endangerment and one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer. He was sentenced to three years of formal probation, one year of a child abusers' treatment program and 180 days in a Veterans Administration residential treatment program, according to the D.A.'s office. Prosecutors objected to the sentence, arguing Briles should be ordered to serve additional time in jail. If convicted at trial, Briles could have faced a maximum of six years in state prison.
In November, the defense the case against Briles to Veterans Court which is designed for military personnel and has a unique way of handling cases and defendants dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. A judge later the request.
The case against Briles stemmed from an Aug. 28 incident in which Briles was on a Newport Beach cruise with his girlfriend and two young sons from a previous marriage. Prosecutors said Briles was drunk and was seen by witnesses.
Prosecutors said Briles then threw the boy over the side of the boat. The first mate stalled the craft and maneuvered it to protect the child from being struck by another vessel and the captain threw the boy a life ring.
Authorities said Briles jumped into the water to avoid the angry passengers on the Queen who began to yell at him, but said he made no attempt to swim to his son's aid. Briles told television reporters he and his son were roughhousing and the incident was nothing more than horseplay.
The boys' mother, Christin A. Briles, was not on the boat. Court records show that Christin A. Briles divorced Sloane Briles in 2007. Both of the boys are now in her care.