Jameis Winston’s Accuser Is Not Going Away

What Women Really Think
Dec. 13 2013 4:46 PM

Jameis Winston’s Accuser Is Not Going Away

Jameis Winston's accuser had to withdraw from classes, while Winston keeps playing

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The woman who accused Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston of rape isn’t going away, despite last week’s announcement from prosecutors that Winston will not be charged. The woman’s lawyer, Patricia Carroll, gave a scathing press conference Friday accusing the Tallahassee police of mishandling the case—and calling on the Florida attorney general to conduct an independent investigation.

Carroll is right that the police botched the investigation from the start. And I’m impressed with the tenacity of her client, who is a student at FSU. The allegations she made have already cost her—she has had to withdraw from classes amid a torrent of criticism, while Winston keeps winning on the field and is a top candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The problem is that the mistakes the police made at the outset, plus what looks like some fumbling by the state attorney’s office, will be hard for the attorney general to fix now.


Here’s a good compilation in the Tampa Bay Times of what the police failed to do after a friend of the accuser’s called 911 in the early hours of December 7 of last year, after the woman either had sex consensually with Winston (his version) or was assaulted by him (hers). They didn’t ask for his DNA. They didn’t try to get Winston’s phone records or his social media postings. They didn’t interview anyone at the bar where she said she had been drinking, or ask for surveillance footage—which existed, but was taped over automatically after a month. They didn’t look for the cab driver, who, according to the accuser, took her, Winston, and another man to his room. They didn’t look for Winston’s friends, who the woman said saw what happened in his room, even though one of them was identified as an FSU player named Chris and was obviously Chris Casher.

After Winston’s lawyer talked to him first, Casher gave a statement backing up Winston last November; the same is true of a second teammate, Ronald Darby. Carroll says there are inconsistencies in what Casher told the police—including the fact that he said at one point, but not in the statement the police released, that he videotaped part of the sexual encounter, but then erased his phone (another piece of evidence that sounds like it was lost). An assistant state attorney said of Casher and Darby, “I have concerns about their credibility.”

This is a hard case. Acquaintance rape accusations are often hard to prove, for all the familiar, he said/she said reasons. But the police made this one much harder to prove or disprove than it would have been if they pursued it with rigor from the start. Were they protecting Winston, or just bumbling when they didn’t go after evidence, most of which now cannot be reconstructed? That’s another question that’s very hard to answer.

Emily Bazelon was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.