The father of the student whose motorized scooter was stolen by Florida State wide receiver Jesus "Bobo" Wilson this summer told the Tallahassee Democrat that neither he nor his son were pressured by authorities not to file charges against Wilson.
The student told The New York Times in a report published last Friday that the investigating officer in the Wilson case questioned the student's mental state and said he didn't want to "ruin" Wilson's record by arresting him if there was a chance he was innocent. The report cites the student as saying Wilson's status on the football team was a major factor in the officer's reluctance to pursue Wilson.
Gonzalo Bellini, the student's father, disputed that notion.
"There was no pressure on my son or on my side not to file charges," Gonzalo Bellini told the Democrat Monday. "They let (Wilson) go because he mentioned that the scooter had been lent to him."
However, Bellini did indicate Wilson's status as a football player played a factor in the investigation. According to Bellini, an investigator working for Tim Jansen, Wilson's attorney, contacted Bellini and asked if the case could be resolved "without it getting out of hand" due ton concerns over what might happen to Wilson's reputation.
"I feel that special steps were taken, I don't know by who or how, to resolve Jesus Wilson's problems faster than what it would usually be for someone involved with this," Bellini said.
Bellini also refuted what his son said about being questioned about his mental state.
After the Times report was published Friday, the Tallahassee Police Department opened an internal investigation into the claim that the officer attempted to influence Bellini's son not to file charges.
Wilson, who first said he was allowed by the scooter's owner to drive it, later admitted he had stolen it and pleaded out to misdemeanor charges of petty theft and criminal mischief. As part of his punishment, he paid $1,074 in restitution to the scooter owner and was sentenced to 30 days of jail work camp and two years' probation, which can be reduced to one year following the completion of the work camp.
Wilson was suspended indefinitely by Florida State during the investigation and later reinstated after missing the team's season opener against Oklahoma State. A sophomore, he has 21 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns this season.
As raised by the Times, Florida State and local police have faced questions over their investigatory processes when football players have been accused of crimes, most notably involving starting quarterback Jameis Winston and his alleged sexual assault of a female student in December 2012. Winston, who was investigated by police and ultimately not charged, currently faces a disciplinary hearing related to the incident.
- Ben Estes