Florida State investigates Jameis Winston for alleged assault

Jameis Winston celebrates winning the BCS championship in January. Accusations made against him in 2012 have resurfaced.

Story highlights

  • University opens a Title IX investigation into the 2012 case
  • An FSU student says Winston sexually assaulted her
  • Winston won the Heisman trophy last year
Florida State has opened a Title IX investigation into the 2012 sexual assault case involving Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston, an attorney for the accuser said Friday.
Winston could be charged by Florida State for a code of conduct violation against him for sexual misconduct.
John Clune, an attorney representing the woman who accused Winston of sexually assaulting her in December 2012, said university officials interviewed his client last month.
Clune said it "was a very thorough interview" and that the accuser, a Florida State student, "felt like she was heard by the university."
"They took it very seriously," Clune said.
Florida State launched its investigation under the Title IX law, which requires schools to investigate allegations of sexual assault. This investigation is mandatory under the law even if criminal charges were not filed.
Florida State, one of several universities under federal review for their handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints, would not comment on the investigation, citing state and federal student privacy laws.
"In general, complainants control the timing in our process," said Florida State Strategic Communications Adviser Browning Brooks.
David Cornwell, an adviser to Winston's family, released a statement Thursday regarding Florida State's investigation.
"The real story here is that after her Colorado attorneys created a media frenzy alleging that Florida State University failed to comply with its Title IX obligations, (the accuser) had to come clean and admit that she previously refused to cooperate with the university's Title IX inquiry.
"Now that she has finally done her Title IX interview, this is the fourth time (the accuser) has told her story. We anticipate the same conclusion that followed her previous three statements to the Tallahassee Police Department, Florida's State Attorney's Office and in the FSU Code of Student Conduct hearing. Jameis Winston did not sexually assault (the accuser)."
Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, has said his client had consensual sex with the woman.
Willie Meggs, the Florida state attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Leon County and Tallahassee, said in November that the investigators did not have probable cause to arrest Winston.
According to police documents, the accuser said Winston raped her after she had been drinking with friends at a bar in Tallahassee. She said an unknown man gave her a shot glass of liquid before they left the bar. The accuser also said she did not remember much of what happened next but that she remembered being in a ground-floor apartment, where a man took off her clothes and had sex with her despite her objections.
The accuser reported the alleged assault to campus police that night. A month later, in January 2013, she accused Winston of the alleged rape.
Tallahassee interim Police Chief Tom Coe said last year that she "broke off contact" with investigators in February 2013 and didn't want to go forward with the case.
The woman's family says a detective warned her attorney that Tallahassee is a "big football town" and that life could be miserable if she pursued the case.
After he won the Heisman, Winston and the Seminoles went on to win the BCS National Championship against Auburn. He spent this spring playing for the Florida State baseball team.
Winston made headlines again in April when he was accused of shoplifting crab legs from a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee. Police said that Winston said he forgot to pay.
Florida State remains No. 1 in the polls after a 37-31 win against Oklahoma State last week. Winston is once again seen as an early contender for the Heisman, college football's top award. It is given in December to the player who voters believe had the best college football season.