Sunday, February 18, 2018
Colleges

FSU's Winston investigated in sexual assault complaint

Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated in a sexual assault complaint filed nearly a year ago.

A woman told police on Dec. 7, 2012, that she was sexually assaulted at an apartment about 1:30 that morning, says a Tallahassee Police Department incident report released Wednesday. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony.

The name of the victim and all personal details have been redacted from the report, which does not give the suspect's name.

The suspect is described in the report as a muscular, 240-pound black male with brown eyes and short black hair, and his height between 5 feet 9 and 5 feet 11.

TMZ, a celebrity news and gossip website, first reported Wednesday that the suspect is Winston, who is 6 feet 4 and 228 pounds. The Tallahassee Democrat soon after also reported the suspect is Winston.

Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, said the redshirt freshman and frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy has not been interviewed by police.

"This case has been going on for over a year," Jansen told the Democrat. "The case was basically closed, and we're not sure why it's opened up. We've been cooperating with the law enforcement agencies, and we're hoping to get a quick resolution in favor of Mr. Winston."

The FSU Police Department records manager, Bridgette Ray, told the Tampa Bay Times last week that a woman reported an assault by a black man on Dec. 7, the final day of classes in Tallahassee and six days after the Seminoles beat Georgia Tech to win the ACC championship.

Because the woman said the assault happened offcampus, the investigation was turned over to city police.

The victim had been drinking and was offered a shot by an unknown person, Tallahassee Police Information Officer Scott Beck said last week. She left a bar in a cab and reported an assault a few hours later to police, who collected physical and photographic evidence.

Police said they had identified a suspect but didn't have enough information to charge him. The Times requested a copy of the incident report Friday; the report was not received until Wednesday evening.

No further information was publicly available because authorities are still investigating. The case has been assigned to the special victims unit, Tallahassee Police spokesman David Northway wrote in an email.

"TPD is continuing its investigation and has consulted with the State Attorney as to the direction of the case," Northway wrote.

FSU issued a statement Wednesday:

"We are aware of a matter that was investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department almost a year ago. 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."

State Attorney Willie Meggs would not confirm that Winston is the subject of the investigation. He told the Miami Herald he did not know why it took 11 months for police to ask his office to get involved in the investigation: "I don't have the answer to that. You'll have to contact the police department."

Winston, 19, is in his first season as the Seminoles' starting quarterback. He entered FSU in 2012 as a highly touted recruit. He was ESPN's top high school quarterback, its No. 14 overall player in his class and an Under Armour All-American.

He ranks this season among the Division I-A leaders with 2,661 passing yards and is fifth with 26 TD passes.

The Seminoles are 9-0 and ranked second in the BCS standings, which determine which teams play in the national title game. They have clinched a spot in the ACC title game and are contenders for the school's first national title since 1999.

FSU hosts Syracuse on Saturday.

Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected]

 
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