A female Florida State student who accused the school's Heisman-contender quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual battery says that the police warned her against reporting the crime, since Tallahassee is a "big football town" and it might make her life more difficult if the public got wind of this sort of thing. You know, the opposite of what cops are supposed to do.
Winston has ever been arrested or charged with a crime in connection with the incident, which happened in early December 2012, when he was a red shirt freshman on FSU's football team. Here's what allegedly happened that night, according to the Tampa Bay Times,
A Tallahassee police spokesman told the Times on Nov. 8 that an incident was reported after a woman took a shot from an unknown person and left a Tallahassee bar in a cab. According to a heavily redacted police report, the woman said a sexual assault happened between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Tallahassee police responded to a call about two hours later.
After a few months of ???, police changed the status of the case from "open active" to "open inactive," a status change that Tallahassee police say happened because the victim declined to press charges. This is significant, according to the Tallahassee Democrat
, because once a case has been declared "open inactive," the public (and the media) can access details of the case. Last week, however, reporters from multiple outlets requested copies of the case file be turned over to them. And suddenly — magically — the case became active and unavailable again.
TPD investigators turned over the 11-month-old report of the alleged December 2012 off-campus incident to State Attorney Willie Meggs' office for the first time Nov. 12 after reporters with the Tampa Bay Times and TMZ requested it, interim Police Chief Tom Coe said Monday.
Meggs' reviewed the case following day, Nov. 13, and it was determined more police work had to be done before the dormant case could be wrapped up. The police department then switched the case status from "open-inactive" to "open-active," thereby making the investigative file and nearly everything about the case off-limits to the public.
Huh. A police spokesman says that a media request cannot spark a case status change, that the only way that a case can be changed to "active" is if new information about the case came to light. What information?
But the Winston case gets muddier. Today, the Tampa Bay Times received a statement from the victim's family through her attorney
that painted a pretty grim but predictable picture of the same sort of jock-worshipping bullshit that we saw in Steubenville, South Bend
, and Maryville. Turns out, the police never executed a search warrant on Winston's apartment since the alleged "new information" came to light, nor did they interview his roommate, who may have been a witness. They never collected a DNA sample. In fact, all they did was try to intimidate the woman into shutting up.
"When the attorney contacted Detective (Scott) Angulo immediately after Winston was identified, Detective Angulo told the attorney that Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable," the family said.
The family also said that Angulo refused to collect Winston's DNA or interview his roommate, a possible witness in the case, because doing so would alert Winston and allow the case to go public.
A public record request by the Times revealed no search warrants executed under Winston's name. And there are no public search warrants related to sex crimes that match the address of the building Winston reportedly lives in. In addition, the public record request did not reveal that any search warrants have been executed in relation to the case since Nov. 11. There is no way to know if there are search warrants that have been carried out but are confidential at this time.
The family also said that while Winston was shielded from knowing about the case, Winston's attorney was in contact with police, who told him that the case was closed last February. The victim's family, meanwhile, wasn't told that the case had been closed. They were still waiting for bloodwork results that never came.
In addition, even though the victim identified Winston as the person who raped her in January, police didn't list him as a suspect in the report.
The stakes are high because the Florida State Seminoles are having one helluva season, and Winston's been mentioned as a possible contender for the Heisman Trophy. Losing him on the field could be disastrous for the team, and hurt a lot of feelings of people who like it when FSU TEAM WIN. WIN MANY GAME. And fans of Jameis Winston are taking the news of the shady-as-fuck non-investigation with the sort of maturity and perspective we've all grown to expect from college football fans. Here's a post to a Jameis Winston fan page on Facebook.
LOL get it guys? Winning games is like raping people. And accusations of sexual assault are tantamount to trying to KEEP THE NOLE NATION DOWN. Sports!
Authorities privileging the right of a football player to rape over the rights of the women he allegedly raped? Haven't we heard this one before?
This piece first appeared in Jezebel.com