Melissa Ashton, who was the director of FSU’s victim advocate program until August, made the statement in summer 2014 during her deposition as part of the sexual assault lawsuit filed against former quarterback Jameis Winston, now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Erica Kinsman, the student who made the allegations against Winston, says the university failed to respond to her claims. Winston was cleared by the university last year after a hearing, and a Florida prosecutor opted not to press criminal charges.
Ashton said that her office handled 20 allegations of rape against members of the football team in the past nine years, and that a majority of the victims declined to press conduct charges. She testified she was concerned about the preferential treatment players receive in the community and from law enforcement, the Tampa Bay Times reports, and that victims fear to speak out because of "retaliation, seeing what has happened in other cases and not wanting that to be them."
Florida State released depositions by both Ashton and head coach Jimbo Fisher from the Winston case on Wednesday.
The Times reported Fisher talked to lawyers Sept. 22, 2015 and said he did not know who accused Winston and whether she was a student.