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Jameis Winston's accuser brings in Title IX specialists

Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to the program's third national championship, has repeatedly denied assaulting the woman.

AP photo

Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to the program's third national championship, has repeatedly denied assaulting the woman.

Jameis Winston's accuser appears to be gearing up for a possible lawsuit against Florida State University.

The woman's Dade City-based attorney, Patricia Carroll, said Friday that she is working with two high-profile Title IX attorneys, John Clune and Baine Kerr, to explore a possible suit against FSU under the federal anti-discrimination guidelines.

Clune and Kerr are Colorado-based attorneys who have handled on-campus rape lawsuits at the University of Pacific, Wake Forest and University of Colorado. Clune also represented the woman who accused Lakers star Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.

Friday's news isn't a surprise. Carroll told the Tampa Bay Times last month that she planned to reach out to Title IX experts to see whether FSU fulfilled its legal responsibilities regarding the rape allegations against its star quarterback.

The U.S. Department of Education has charged universities with trying to reduce sexual assaults under Title IX. Federal guidelines include independent investigations into possible rapes that are separate from criminal cases and usually take about two months to complete.

The accuser first reported a possible sexual assault to FSU police in December 2012 and identified Winston as the suspect a month later, but an investigation by Tallahassee police stalled.

The State Attorney's Office began its investigation in November and ruled that it did not have enough evidence to press charges. Winston went on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead the Seminoles to a perfect record and the program's third national championship. Winston has repeatedly denied assaulting the woman.

Shortly after prosecutors began examining the case, FSU vice president of university relations Liz Maryanski told the Times that the school followed federal instructions on Title IX, including university-led investigations. But she declined to say when the school began looking into the Winston case.

Carroll reiterated Friday that civil lawsuits against Winston and Tallahassee police are "forthcoming."

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

Jameis Winston's accuser brings in Title IX specialists 02/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 6:02pm]
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