Report: Florida State, Police did “virtually no” Winston probe

April 16, 2014 – 9:40 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Jameis Winston

The New York Times published an article on Wednesday that blasts the lack of any real investigation done by Florida State and the Tallahassee Police Department into the rape allegations leveled at Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.

The article states that “there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.” State Attorney Willie Meggs is quoted as saying that the police, “Just missed all the basic fundamental stuff that you are supposed to do.” Meggs was also upset by the fact that the police waited two weeks to finally contact Winston after the accuser identified him as her attacker, and only did so by phone, not with a formal, in-person interview.

Also, police failed to follow up with possible witnesses, one of whom apparently videotaped part of the encounter. On top of that, they never obtained his DNA and the detective handling the case waited two months to write his first report, then prematurely suspended his inquiry without informing the accuser. That meant that by the time the case finally got to a prosecutor 11 months later, most of the evidence in the case had disappeared, including the video of the act.

The Times also reports that a second woman sought counseling after a sexual encounter with Winston, though did not accuse him of rape. Winston declined to comment on the article, but his attorney said, “We don’t need an investigation, thorough or otherwise, to know that Jameis did not sexually assault this young lady.”

The article also details that while the accuser was giving her account to police soon after the alleged assault, bruises began to appear on her body, indicating recent trauma.

Records also show that Florida State’s athletic department knew about the rape accusation in January of 2013 (the incident took place on December 7, 2012). The assistant athletic director called police to inquire about the case, but the university did nothing about it and allowed Winston to play a full season without discussing the case with him. After the BCS Championship Game in January of this year, university officials finally asked him to discuss the case, but he declined on the advice of his lawyer.

Here’s the kicker: university officials may have violated federal law by not rapidly investigating either the rape accusation or the witness’s admission that he videotaped part of the encounter.

Whether you believe Winston’s account or not, this is a complete outrage. At best Florida State was (likely) criminally negligent in the way it handled things, at worst the school covered up a potential rape by a star athlete. Either way the university and the police department need to be held responsible.

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  1. 7 Responses to “Report: Florida State, Police did “virtually no” Winston probe”

  2. Ryan Phillips: You should probably do some research before writing an article like this and making allegations that are incorrect. There are specific federal guidelines that FSU must follow along with victims rights which makes the allegation that FSU was criminaly negligent or covered up a potential rape completly false. You shold have done some research into those laws to have a better understanding of them before making such allegations. A better way to have written this article would have been to do analysis in your article on what exact laws FSU has “violated” with the facts that are in the State District Attorney’s report. Also, the New York Times article left out a lot of information (another person’s semen was found, the “victim” changing her story mutliple times, the fact that her blood test came back negative for any date rape drugs). From reading the article, it appears that you didn’t even take the time to read the actual investigation report that the State District Attorney did and is available to the public to view.

    Did you ever think that due to rape shield laws, that the victims name wasn’t released to FSU and that maybe FSU had no idea it was a student until sometime in late 2013 when the story went public?

    I do agree that the TPD investigation is suspect at best but at the time, Winston hadn’t played a down for FSU and nobody outside of FSU fanatics knew who he was.

    I know you are not going to post this comment. I just hope that next time, instead of writing an article based upon another article, you actually do some research and write a thoughtful piece.

    By Ryan on Apr 17, 2014

  3. Ryan,
    FSU is federally mandated to look into cases of sexual assault involving its students, regardless of innocence or guilt. FSU is not the only school negligent in that area, many schools fail in their duties to protect female students. FSU is just the example here.

    The cop who took the report also discouraged the girl from even making a report, he has also worked with a booster organization and knew who Winston was, as evidenced by some of what he told his superiors (go to deadspin for that information).

    I never said Winston was protected because he was a star (when I referred to him as a star at the end of the post I mean that he is a star now), and I never made any judgment about his innocence or guilt, this is about the police and the school not investigating a potential sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if he was protected because he is an athlete or not, all that matters is that a student accused another student of sexual assault and it took 11 months for any real investigation to happen. By that time any evidence was gone. That’s horrendous.

    Also, the school was made aware of the situation in January of 2013 and contacted the police but never followed up. It finally got around to asking Winston about it in December of 2013 but he declined to talk to them under the advice of his lawyer. The school is legally supposed to investigate ANY accusation of sexual assault immediately. The university failed to do so and that’s why the Feds are currently investigating the school.

    And because there were no date rape drugs in her system and her BAC was at a low level when she got to the police station doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been drunk (or at least in a position to make questionable decisions) when the actual assault took place. There could have been plenty of time in between for her to sober up a bit, especially if she had been through an intense, traumatic experience.

    By Ryan Phillips on Apr 17, 2014

  4. Ryan,
    I do agree with you that sexual assualt on college campuses is a problem. My concern is that it appears that the NYT article was your only source and the fact that there appears to be no analysis of federally mandated rules that you cite in the article or comment. Please review the States DA office report. The Federal investigation will clear up any issues on if FSU violated Title 9 and I hope if it is found that FSU complied with the Title 9 requirements, you will write an article about that.

    By Ryan on Apr 18, 2014

  5. Everyone had to protect the school’s right and privilege to play for and ultimately win a national title correct? Regardless of any silly sexual misconduct by their as yet unknown star QB, no one would actually jeopardize that real shot, would they? no in fact they would not, and they did not!

    By Lone Wolf on Apr 20, 2014

  6. Ryan,
    I have been following the case for a long time and have read the DA report. This post was about the new info that has come out as a result of the NYT investigation.

    There is clearly a problem here. Whether it was a deliberate cover-up or not, it’s clear that the Tallahassee PD didn’t do what it needed to as far as investigating. Had they done their jobs, they would have gotten in touch with witnesses, as a result they would have had the video of the encounter and that could have either cleared Winston or convinced them to press charges. It took them 11 months to seriously begin any kind of investigation and that only came b/c the victim (or alleged victim) and her lawyer went public.

    By Ryan Phillips on Apr 20, 2014

  7. I graduated from FSU 45 years ago. Enough of regurgitated, poor, biased, incomplete reporting of this incident. A Florida State Attorney did an investigation and determined Mr. Winston was not chargeable based on the FACTS that were presented. Mr. Megg’s report had several comments and conclusions that were critical of the veracity or truthfulness of several of the statements by Winston’s accuser. Neither the NYT or you mentioned those findings. Mr. Winstons personal morals and FSU’s reputation have been sullied by the accuser and her attorney. They have had an agenda from the start to use the media to pursue her alleged rape case. The Tallahassee PD and the school did not not perform due diligence when required. The alleged victim and her attorney have shown zero proven creditability.

    By Michael R. O'Malley on Apr 21, 2014

  8. Mr. Phillips,

    Like Mr. O’Malley I too am an FSU Alumni.
    Criminal Justice Class of 84. I am a career Law Enforcement Officer. For full Disclosure I know Mr. Meggs personally.
    You have succeeded in creating yet another absurd commentary on a troubling incident and added nothing of value in the process….Well Done.
    If you want to add real value, Direct your limited readership to the Official Prosecuting Attorney’s report. The reason Mr. Winston was not Arrested is clear. The complainant’s testimony. That’s it. Nothing else. Stop the feeble attempt to ride the NYT rag, Band Wagon and increase your readership…. ENOUGH ALREADY!

    By Michael A. Tynan FSUCJ84 on Apr 21, 2014

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