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Break in complainant's cooperation delayed Winston case

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Published Nov. 20, 2013

The sexual assault investigation involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston initially stalled after the accuser declined to cooperate but reopened last week after new information emerged in the months-old case, according to a report Tuesday by the Tallahassee Democrat.

According to the newspaper, Tallahassee city manager Anita Favors Thompson told city commissioners in an email last week that Tallahassee police had investigated a case "against FSU football player Jameis Winston." The investigation of the December 2012 incident halted after the accuser stopped responding to police.

"Shortly thereafter a representative of the young woman's family who is an attorney contacted (Tallahassee police) and said the young woman had changed her mind and did not wish to prosecute," Thompson wrote in an email obtained by the Democrat.

The paper reported that the case — from a sexual assault allegation reported Dec. 7 — switched from open but inactive to open and active last week after new information emerged.

Tallahassee police told the Tampa Bay Times on Nov. 8 that the case was open because a suspect had been identified, but they did not have enough information to charge a suspect.

The Democrat reported Tuesday that the woman said the incident happened after she became intoxicated at a Tallahassee bar. Tallahassee police told the Times this month that the woman was given a shot by an unknown person during the evening and left the bar in a cab.

The off-campus incident allegedly took place before 2 a.m. Dec. 7 and was reported to police soon after.

Winston has not been arrested or charged. His attorney has publicly said his client denied any wrongdoing. The state attorney's office is overseeing the investigation.

The complainant's attorney declined comment to the Times on Tuesday because the investigation is ongoing.

Winston, a redshirt freshman, is a top contender for the Heisman Trophy. He has thrown for 28 touchdowns and almost 3,000 yards for the second-ranked Seminoles, who are 10-0 and in contention for their first national title since 1999.

FSU hosts Idaho at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com.