New York Times dissects investigation of Jameis Winston
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department into an alleged sexual assault by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has come under further scrutiny in a story published by the New York Times on Wednesday.
Winston, who won a Heisman Trophy and led Florida State to a national title in 2013, was investigated by TPD after a student said he sexually assaulted her. Tim Jansen, Winston’s attorney, said that his client had consensual sex with the woman.
TPD investigated the case early in 2013, and the case was dormant for months until it was re-opened in November. After a three-week investigation by TPD and the State Attorney’s Office, prosecutors decided not to bring charges.
”They just missed all the basic fundamental stuff that you are supposed to do,” state attorney Willie Meggs told the Times. ”The case was not properly investigated from the start.”
The alleged victim met Winston and two of his teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, at a bar on the edge of campus, Potbelly’s, on Dec. 7, 2012. After a while, the four took a taxi back to Winston’s apartment.
Meggs said he wished TPD had been able to identify the taxi driver who transported the group. He also lamented that TPD did not pursue video from Potbelly’s, which the Times story states has 30 security cameras.
He also questioned why Winston was contacted at first by phone by TPD and not in person.
”It’s insane to call a suspect on the phone," Meggs said.
But Meggs also said he’s not sure if interviews or video camera footage would have provided a different result in helping the prosecution’s case.
Florida State responded to the Times report with a statement on Wednesday afternoon. The statement also said that it responded to the Times multiple occasions in the weeks leading up to the story being published.
”FSU does not tolerate sexual assault,” the statement said. ”Even one sexual assault is a problem. Like other colleges and universities that are grappling with this issue, we actively provide programs and educate students on safe behavior, the meaning of consent and how to properly report cases of sexual misconduct. Contrary to the article’s over-arching theme, FSU takes this matter seriously.”
The federal government is investigating how Florida State handled its sexual assault inquiry of Winston. Title IX requires that schools investigate sexual assault cases. At issue is whether school administrators "promptly and equitably" investigated the allegation of a Florida State student that she was raped by Winston at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.