An attorney said that Florida State University is investigating the allegations that Jameis Winston sexually assaulted a female student in December 2012 in order to determine if Winston, quarterback of the Seminoles’ football team, violated the student code of conduct, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Baine Kerr, one of the attorneys for the victim, said Thursday that FSU interviewed his client “early last month,” and that “an investigation is ongoing.”
No charges were filed against Winston in the case because Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs said last December that there was not enough evidence to win a conviction against him.
FSU released a statement that did not confirm the investigation, but said “While we cannot comment on any individual case, in general, complainants control the timing in our process.”
Kerr, however, disagreed with the notion that actions by his client caused the delay in investigation, and said that the victim has been asking “Florida State to comply with federal law and expeditiously investigate and resolve her complaints.”
“I take issue with that statement as it applies to this particular complaint. She’s definitely been asking that this go forward. The timing has not been controlled by her or by us, however. We have for months said that she was willing to be formally interviewed as part of the disciplinary process and made her available.
She has not been controlling the timing and she has consistently been asking for the investigation to be conducted as promptly as possible.”
The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is also investigating FSU for possible Title IX violations after the victim filed her complaint. Kerr said his client had been interviewed by a formal Title IX investigator from the Florida State Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
“We expect that there will be charges filed and see no reason at this point for delaying those,” Kerr said.
From the beginning, this investigation has been improperly handled, especially by local police.
When Meggs released his statement saying there would be no charges filed despite semen being found in the victim’s underwear, he acknowledged a “number of shortcomings in the investigation,” according to the New York Times.
An investigation by The Times found that “police did not follow the obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses,” including one of whom had video taped part of the assault. After the victim identified Winston as her attacker, the police “did not even attempt to interview him for nearly two weeks and never obtained his DNA.”
The detective assigned to the case waited two months to write his initial report and suspended the investigation prematurely without notifying the victim, which meant that “by the time the prosecutor got the case, important evidence had been disappeared, including the video of the sexual act.”
The Times also found that “university administrators, in apparent violation of federal law, did not promptly investigate either the rape accusation or the witness’s admission that he had videotaped part of the encounter.”
Records show that FSU’s athletic department knew about the rape allegations against Winston in January 2013, and “did nothing about it, allowing Mr. Winston to play the full season without having to answer any questions.” Winston won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor, in December.
It was only AFTER winning the national championship game in January of this year that university officials “asked Mr. Winston to discuss the case, but he declined on advice of his lawyer.”
Given the amount of FSU support, and the amount of money the football program brings to Tallahassee, it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility that the investigation was clouded by Seminole fans involved in it.
Patricia A. Carroll, another of the victim’s lawyers, said Scott Angulo, the police investigator who handled the case, told her that “because Tallahassee was a big football town, her client would be ‘raked over the coals’ if she pursued the case,” according to The Times.
Officer Angulo had done private security work for the Seminole Boosters, a non-profit organization that is the “primary financier of Florida State athletics.”
FSU is scheduled to play The Citadel this Saturday, and Winston is expected to start.
“This team just moves on,” coach Jimbo Fisher said on Thursday after practice, according to the AP. About the investigation, Fisher said, “I have no idea how that’ll go or what it’s about. That’s for other people to find out. We’re just here playing ball.”