Florida State University’s Jameis Winston just won the BCS National Championship game on Monday, the same day as his birthday, just a few weeks after becoming the second freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. You would think that a young man having such an incredible year wouldn’t have a care in the world. However, that is simply not the case.
On December 5, Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs exonerated Winston of a rape claim made by a FSU coed. But the woman’s attorney is not satisfied with the investigation and wants to see heads roll. In an interview with ABC on Wednesday, attorney Patricia Carroll announced the family of the victim will move ahead with a civil suit against Winston, the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), and perhaps Florida State University itself.
“I want heads to roll,” she told ABC News on Wednesday. "Absolutely you're going to see a civil suit. You cannot have law enforcement that is not held accountable.”
Ms. Carroll claims the TPD fumbled the investigation involving the star football player and that is what led State Attorney Willie Meggs to drop the case late last year. Winston’s attorney Tim Jansen has said that the sex was consensual when the incident occurred in December 2012. Winston’s DNA was found in the woman’s underwear.
"I think something happened that night, but whether or not it was to the level we could file a charge, we never got there," said Meggs in explaining his office’s refusal to prosecute.
Carroll says her client has been advised to stay away from FSU due to safety concerns and may have to transfer. "I inquired if she could return to FSU and they told me absolutely not," said Carroll, who has also received death threats just like her client. "They too had the impression she would be in physical danger."
The entire case has left room for suspicion on the part of all involved. The TPD did not submit the woman’s sexual assault kit to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab until Jan. 17, 2013, 39 days after the police were contacted.
"The bulk of the investigation was into the rape victim," Carroll said. "I'm looking at an investigation of a rape victim, not a rape suspect."
Mostly quiet about the drama, days before he won the Heisman, Winston said, “It’s been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I’m very relieved I’ll be able to continue my education at Florida State and I’m excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals.”
At least Winston can still go to school. His accuser has been forced to withdraw and remains in hiding since coming forward with her rape claims.