Florida State outlines Jameis Winston response in letter

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With Florida State under investigation by the federal government, the school released a letter to supporters explaining its response after quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of a Decemer 2012 sexual assault, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"We did not want you to confuse our silence with idleness, a lack of caring or, as some have alleged, an institutional conspiracy to protect a star athlete," the letter said.

The Times received an advanced copy of the letter.

The letter outlines FSU's response under Title IX, a federal law which requires schools to investigate and adjudicate cases of sexual violence.

According to the Times' report, FSU's Title IX officials did not learn about the case until November 2013, when it became public. And FSU's athletic department did not have knowledge of it until January 2013 after the woman identified Winston to the Tallahassee Police Department.


Attorney: Jameis Winston to cooperate with FSU Title IX probe

According to the Times, Winston and two teammates were interviewed by someone in the athletic department and the three described the sexual encounter as consensual.

The department did not file a report with the Title IX coordinator or the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities because the police investigation had stalled and no charges were filed.

The woman, then a FSU student, initially reported the alleged assault to FSU police in December 2012 and it was referred to TPD because it occurred off campus. The letter confirms the FSU victim's advocate program was aware in 2012, but advocates are bound by confidentiality.

The letter highlights continued questions about Florida State's compliance with Title IX. Guidance from OCR directs schools that campus investigations should proceed despite the outcome of criminal investigations and that they should seek to resolve cases within 60 days.


Suspended for a game against Clemson, Winston watches the Seminoles rally for an overtime win.
Suspended for a game against Clemson, Winston watches the Seminoles rally for an overtime win.

According to the Times, the letter says FSU tried to speak with the woman in November but her then-attorney, Patricia Carroll, told school officials to "cease all contact with her client." Carroll explained to the Times that she wanted to stop contact temporarily until they sorted through the situation.

Winston declined to answer questions when he met with FSU officials in January. Without cooperation from either party, FSU says it suspended the investigation in February, according to the Times.

The woman did speak with FSU officials in early August. The letter obtained by the Times says that came after repeated attempts to speak with her. Two Title IX attorneys representing the woman have previously refuted that notion publicly and said since the spring they would make their client available.

Winston was not charged criminally.

FSU's letter comes as it is conducting a code of conduct investigation into the alleged assault. David Cornwell, an attorney advising Winston, said in late September that Winston would cooperate with the investigation.