NEWPORT BEACH (KTLA) -- A father was convicted and sentenced today for throwing his 7-year-old son over the side of a boat in Newport Beach Harbor into the path of busy oncoming boat traffic.
Under a plea deal, 35-year old Sloan Steven Briles, agreed to plead 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.
He could have faced a maximum sentence of six years in state prison if convicted at trial.
The incident occurred on Aug. 28, 2011 in Newport Harbor.
Briles was on a harbor cruise aboard the Queen with his girlfriend and two young sons from a prior marriage.
The defendant was under the influence of alcohol and poked his 7-year-old son in the chest.
He repeatedly slapped his son in the face, making the child cry and ask the defendant to stop because the defendant was hurting him.
Briles then picked up the little boy and threw him approximately 10 feet over the side of the boat.
At that time, the Queen was in a busy boating area with a large amount of boat traffic, so the first mate stalled the boat and maneuvered it to protect the child from being struck by another vessel. The captain threw the crying child, who was treading water, a life ring.
Briles then jumped into the water to avoid the angry passengers on the Queen who began to yell at him. He made no attempt to swim to his sons aid.
Another boat helped the child out of the water, but the crew of the Queen asked the other boat not to help Briles, who was eventually pulled back onto the Queen.
When contacted by deputies from the Orange County Sheriffs Department (OCSD), who patrol the harbor, Briles ignored the deputies orders to stand, struggled with them as they attempted to help him to his feet, and made his body go limp to make it difficult as deputies tried to remove him from the boat.
Briles had to be dragged from the Queen to the OCSD Harbor Patrol boat.
Two days after the incident, Briles told KTLA that he did nothing wrong, and that the whole thing was just horseplay.
"We were having fun, it was a harbor cruise!" Briles insisted.
Briles also said he did not hit his son that day and has never hit his son.
"I did nothing except jump in the water with my kid," he claimed.
Deputies who took Briles into custody said he was combative and resisted arrest, and they believe he had been drinking.
When asked if he would have done the same thing had he not been drinking, Briles said, "absolutely."