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Florida State QB Jameis Winston will not be charged in sexual assault

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Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post. He is the co-author of "The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival." Follow him at kevinvaughan.net and on Twitter.

 
   
 

Florida State QB Jameis Winston will not be charged in sexual assault investigation, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced Thursday.

The announcement followed his investigation into an incident at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.

A woman initially told police that she was sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant — then identified Winston about five weeks later as the man who attacked her. At the time, he was a highly-regarded redshirt player for the Seminoles, but had not appeared in a game.

But Tallahassee police shelved the case in February, contending that the woman did not want to cooperate with investigators — an assertion that her attorney later disputed.

Then in November — with Winston having led Florida State to No. 2 in the polls and enjoying front-runner status in the Heisman Trophy discussion — the case took on a new urgency after multiple news agencies requested the police report. Tallahassee police turned the case over to Meggs, and his office launched a new investigation.

In recent weeks, Meggs has said that his investigators were conducting interviews and having laboratory tests conducted as part of their investigation. And he has also said it was unusual that his office was not informed about the case back in the early stages of the investigation.

Winston, 19, has led Florida State to three big wins while at the center of a media storm.

Most recently, the discovery of his DNA on evidence collected at the time of the alleged assault was greeted as no surprise by his attorney, Tim Jansen. He said Winston and the woman had a consensual encounter.

The woman’s attorney, Patricia Carroll, fired back with a statement that said there was nothing consensual about the encounter — that it was a rape.

Tim Jansen, Winston’s attorney, has planned a press conference for 7 p.m. Thursday — just 45 minutes before the Seminoles are scheduled to leave to Charlotte. And he has said that Winston will be there and will make a statement.

Florida State trustee Leslie Pantin said Wednesday night that he and other members of the school’s governing board had not been briefed on Meggs’ decision.

Tagged: Florida State, Florida

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