21 Months After Alleged Sexual Assault, Florida State Investigates Jameis Winston

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 4 2014 8:36 PM

21 Months After Alleged Sexual Assault, Florida State Investigates Jameis Winston

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Jameis Winston.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Nearly two years after Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of rape, the university is launching a disciplinary investigation into the incident. The woman who accused the Heisman Trophy winner of sexual assault was a student at Florida State in December 2012, when she says Winston assaulted her at his off-campus apartment.

At the time, the New York Times points out, “the Tallahassee Police Department conducted virtually no investigation and contacted the prosecutor’s office only after word of the allegation was leaked to the news media months later.” The prosecutor on the case later said there was insufficient evidence to charge Winston with a crime and it wasn’t until after the Seminoles national championship season ended that the university probed Winston about the allegations.

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Here’s more on why Florida State may be taking the case more seriously now from the Wall Street Journal:

The disciplinary inquiry comes after the Office for Civil Rights, an agency of the U.S. Department of Education, launched a probe in April into whether Florida State's handling of the allegations against Winston violated Title IX, the federal gender-equity law that prohibits sexual discrimination at schools that receive public funds. The government agency received a complaint from the alleged victim in March. Florida State is now one of 77 schools being investigated by OCR—partly the result of a push from the Obama administration to curb sexual assaults on campus…
Florida State already held student-conduct hearings for two of Winston's teammates who were with him on the night of the alleged sexual assault. Schools are required by federal law to investigate if they know or "reasonably should know" of possible sexual harassment, regardless of whether an alleged victim files a complaint, according to guidance issued by the Department of Education in 2011.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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