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Winston subject of investigation

Image: Jameis Winston (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston is under investigation in a sexual assault case.
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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 quarterback Jameis Winston, one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, is the subject of an ongoing sexual assault investigation in Tallahassee.

Attorney Tim Jansen confirmed to FOX Sports on Wednesday that Winston, a redshirt freshman from Bessemer, Ala., was the subject of the investigation and said the player denies any wrongdoing.

The alleged assault occurred last December, and Jansen said he was told nine months ago the investigation had been closed.

“They contacted me,” he said of Tallahassee police. “I was representing him. They said the case was closed. That was in February.”

The investigation centers on a sexual assault reported early the morning of Dec. 7, 2012. Although nearly a year has passed, the case is open, said Tallahassee police officer David Northway, a department spokesman.

“It is an active, ongoing investigation,” Northway said.

Florida State’s athletic department issued a statement Wednesday evening after multiple reports of the investigation surfaced and said Winston’s status on the team had not changed.

“We are aware of a matter that was investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department almost a year ago,” the statement said. “Because the investigation has not been closed by TPD, we cannot comment further at this time. We look forward to a speedy resolution of the issue. There is no change in Jameis Winston’s status. Coach Jimbo Fisher and Jameis will be answering questions about football only until there is a resolution.”

According to a heavily redacted copy of the police report, which does not identify Winston, the victim alleged a sexual assault using force between 1:30 and 2 on that Friday morning. Police officers responded to an apartment, where the victim described the attacker as standing between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11 and weighing 240 pounds. The Florida State media guide lists Winston as 6-foot-4, 228.

The report also lists the suspect’s name as “unknown,” indicating that the victim and the suspect did not have a prior relationship.

FOX Sports has learned that Winston was not identified as a possible suspect in the assault until after the spring semester began in January.

According to the police report, investigators recovered evidence from the body of the victim, but it is not clear whether that included genetic material.

Jansen, Winston’s attorney, said he had “no idea” whether prosecutors had DNA or other physical evidence.

Jansen also said he was told that Tallahassee police officers recently decided to send the case to the Office of the State Attorney for review.

Winston’s attorney said he filed two affidavits from “key” witnesses with state authorities on Wednesday but would not discuss what they asserted in their statements.

“We want to get this resolved as quickly as possible,” Jansen said.

Jansen also said Winston has not been questioned by police or prosecutors.

Numerous Heisman Trophy watchers have called Winston a front-runner. So far in 2013 – his first year as a starter – he has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 2,661 yards and 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also has three rushing touchdowns. He was asked after Wednesday night's practice how he deals with distractions.

“Just game-planning every week," Winston told reporters. "We prepare like there’s nothing else to lose. We’re preparing for Syracuse and they have a good defense, they gave up three points the last three games, I believe. We’re just coming in, preparing and trying to do our job.”

Florida State, 9-0, currently sits No. 2 in both the BCS standings and the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Tagged: Florida State, Florida

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