Florida State University filed a motion late Monday night asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a former student who accused ex-quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her in 2012, reports the Associated Press.
The 23-page motion says that the school did everything to adhere to federal law, which mandates schools help victims of sexual assault.
In January, the former student filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against Florida State's board of trustees, alleging that school officials violated Title IX law with a "clearly unreasonable response" and that she was forced to leave school because it became a hostile environment. She also stated in the lawsuit that Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher and senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte learned from authorities that Winston was a suspect in a rape investigation in January 2013.
"Regrettably, the media's reporting of (the woman's) allegations led to an Internet and social-media backlash—harassment that FSU did not cause and in an environment that FSU could not control," states the FSU court filing.
The school wants the lawsuit tossed, saying they provided services to Winston's accuser but had no knowledge that she accused Winston of rape until November 2013. The university is also arguing it is not responsible for her decision to leave the university.
"Far from being deliberately indifferent to [Winston's accuser], FSU provided her the services of its confidential Victim Advocate Program within hours of her alleged sexual assault and continuously thereafter…" FSU's filing said.
Winston has repeatedly denied the accusations, and prosecutors decided not to charge him in the case. He was later cleared by Florida State after a student conduct hearing.
Winston, who won a Heisman Trophy and BCS National Championship for the Seminoles, decided to forego his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, where he is expected to be one of the top picks.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is still investigating Florida State's handling the case and whether the university complied with Title IX law.
- Scooby Axson