Florida State QB Jameis Winston will not be charged in sexual assault investigation
The Florida state attorney's office will not charge Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston with sexual assault, state attorney Willie Meggs announced on Thursday. The news was first reported by Jeff Cameron of ESPN Tallahassee.
Meggs confirmed that no charges will be filed against Winston, who was the subject of an investigation that dated back to last December. Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen, has maintained that sex between Winston and the woman who reported the incident was consensual.
"We've carefully examined all the evidence in this case and have concluded that no charges will be brought against anyone in this case," Meggs said.
A 19-year-old Florida State student first went to police on the morning of Dec. 7, 2012, and her family released a statement on Nov. 20, 2013, questioning the Tallahassee Police Department's handling of the investigation. The statement alleged that detective Scott Angulo had told the accuser's attorney that "Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against [Winston] because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable."
According to a timeline of the investigation released by TPD last month, the accuser identified Winston as the perpetrator on Jan. 10. A TPD investigator later requested an interview with Winston, which Winston's attorney declined. The police department said it placed the case on open but inactive status on Feb. 11.
FoxSports.com's Kevin Vaughan reports that an affidavit obtained on Thursday says that the accuser contacted police within an hour of the alleged rape; at the time, she said she did not know the identity of her alleged attacker:
The search warrant affidavit, obtained Thursday morning by FOX Sports 1, details her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by someone she did not know – and that she was so impaired [from consuming several shots of alcohol] that she was unable to tell a detective where the incident occurred. She told the detective that she was with friends who left and she had only hazy recollections of details after that…
“Her memory is very broken from that point forward,” a detective wrote in the document. “She remembers being in what she thinks is a cab” with a “non-descript” African-American man “in the back seat with her.”
Via Brian Floyd of SBNation.com, documents pertaining to the state's investigation into Winston were also released on Thursday.
In a press conference, Jansen told reporters that he hopes the case is closed and his client can move on.
"I hope it's closed," Jansen said. "There will be people who will always think of Mr. Winston and think of this allegation. You can't stop people from believing what they want to believe. But our society says you're innocent until proven guilty. He hasn't even been charged.
"... He was confident he didn't do anything wrong. I was confident in him. I was confident in our witnesses."
The accuser's family released a statement on Thursday after the state attorney's office announced it would not pursue charges against Winston:
The victim and her family appreciate the State Attorney's efforts in attempting to conduct a proper investigation after an inordinate delay by the Tallahassee Police Department.
The victim in this case had the courage to immediately report her rape to the police and she relied upon them to seek justice.
The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting.
Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox released a statement on Thursday after Meggs' press conference:
Based on this afternoon's announcement by the State Attorney, Jameis Winston's status as a Florida State University student athlete remains unchanged. We have been respectful, impartial, and fully cooperative in the legal process that has now run its course. I will have no further comment on this matter.
Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher also released a public statement:
“As you might imagine, I was pleased to hear that the State Attorney’s Office exonerated Jameis in the matter. I’m not going to answer any questions about the situation, but I would like to point out that our community and our university are blessed to have really good people in place to review matters like this. I know Jameis is pleased he can focus on being a student at a great university and he’s excited about helping our team achieve its goals this year. Right now, we’re all looking forward to what we have in front of us on Saturday.”
Winston released a written statement:
“I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for standing by me during a difficult time. I also want to thank the State Attorney’s Office for examining all of the facts and reaching a decision in a conclusive manner. It’s been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I’m very relieved I’ll be able to continue my education at Florida State and I’m excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals.”A Heisman Trophy candidate, the redshirt freshman has been the starter all season for top-ranked Florida State. The Seminoles will face Duke in the ACC title game on Saturday.