Alleged Victim of Florida State Quarterback Sues University

Jameis_Winston_2013_headcropFSU_Seminoles_logoThere has been considerable controversy over the allegation of a woman against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault. The woman has now filed a civil suit against the university’s board of trustees for allegedly ignoring her claims of sexual harassment and discrimination by Winston in protection of its all-star quarterback. We recently discussed another case where a FSU player was engaged in what appears to be a hit-and-run but was given lenient treatment by local police and campus security.

Winston recently enraged many after it was disclosed that, at his Florida State student code of conduct hearing, he claimed that the woman’s moaning during sex was taken as consent. He was being cleared of sexual assault allegations by the university and also avoided criminal prosecution over the alleged rape at his off-campus apartment in December 2012.

The woman is now turning to civil action in claiming the creation of a hostile educational environment for her. The timing could not be worse for Wilsom who has declared for the upcoming NFL draft.

The case however presents difficulties for the plaintiffs because she did not inform the university until a year after the alleged attack. However, she claims that the university failed interviewed her for months and “No one on behalf of FSU, with the lone exception of (the woman’s) confidential victim advocate, ever mentioned to plaintiff that the school could bring disciplinary charges against Winston. Plaintiff’s only information was gained through brief, privileged victim-advocate conversations.”

The dual decision by both the university and prosecutor that there was not sufficient evidence of rape will present an obvious challenge. These proceedings ultimately either accepted Winston’s account or rejected the alleged victim’s account. The university also insisted that it has a documented and extensive investigation of the matter.

41 thoughts on “Alleged Victim of Florida State Quarterback Sues University”

  1. Trooper, You are not understanding my point. I said that because there are minor league baseball and hockey leagues, financed by MLB and the NHL, there are no scandals w/ NCAA baseball and hockey. I think you were just looking for an opening to blast the Mets. Folks, Trooper loves the Yankees, but he hates the Mets more. Hate trumps love in most of Trooper’s relationships.

  2. Karen,
    While it’s very unfortunate for the victims, sexual assault HAS to be difficult to prove. The alternative is to completely destroy the premise of “innocent until proven guilty”. Making it easier to prove (like OCR has done in colleges) makes a mockery of everything we are supposed to stand for, our system of justice, and the rights of the accused.

    It is better for 10 guilty people to go free than one innocent man suffer.

  3. Then there was the time Dwight Gooden and three other Mets gang banged David Cone’s ex girlfriend at spring training.

    That was all over the papers.

  4. You are not correct when you talk about there not being issues with sexual assault in baseball. There are many cases of minor league players being arrested for rape in the small towns the play in which are very similar to a college atmosphere. I remember three Mets minor leaguers being convicted of rape a few years ago.

    Of course these crimes were investigated by the police. Not Rolling Stone magazine.

  5. Karen, I do take joy knowing OJ has ballooned up to 325 lbs., eating Oreos from his commissary, by the box load.

    1. Nick – comfort food is comfort food. If I am going to balloon to 350 lbs. Oreos is the way to go.

  6. We must protect our sports heroes at all cost. Let them rape, pillage, drive drunk, kill, rob, anything they wish. We must protect all sports players at all coast.

  7. Nick – true. People’s characters are their fate. If the allegations are true, then he will likely continue on his path of self destruction and get in trouble again.

  8. This is always a problem in sexual assault cases where police were not called and all evidence is lost. Unless the encounter was videotaped, it becomes very difficult to prove what happened, unless multiple victims come forward with similar stories to establish a pattern.

    Perhaps the lawyers on the blog can tell me what is the process if he says she consented, and she said she didn’t, and all evidence is lost? Is there no way to prosecute? In the Rolling Stone case, there were people who saw her on the night in question, and disputed the victim’s claims of being covered in blood. But if this alleged victim is not claiming other injuries, I am at a loss as to how this can be proven one way or another.

    As an aside, this is often a problem where the victim is a minor, and does not tell his or her parents right away.

    In this case, I can’t see how the school can punish Winston if her claims are not provable. Otherwise, anyone who’s mad at a male in college can file a claim, and the assumption would be that no female could lie. There doesn’t seem a way in this case to find out what really happened. Unless more evidence comes out, this does not appear to be a case of athlete privilege. I agree that athletes should be treated equally under the law, and in university hearings, but this might not be a good case to hold up as an example.

    For parents out there, regardless of whether her story is true or not, this could be a good reminder to have an age appropriate talk to your kids about reporting right away.

  9. Vegas has the odds @ even this guy has further criminal charges when he goes into the NFL and has serious money in his pocket. Just watching him on the field and sidelines, he oozes the privilege Isaac portrayed in his comment. College football and basketball is merely a minor league system for the NFL and NBA. Major League Baseball and the NHL have minor league systems. So, a baseball or hockey player have a choice. If say a baseball player is academically inclined, he can go to some good baseball schools like Stanford, ASU, USC, etc. if he is not, he goes to the professional minor leagues, same w/ hockey players. There are no scandals in these sports. But, the NFL and NBA have a perverse relationship w/ the NCAA. These sports don’t have to be burdened w/ the HUGE expense of having a minor league system. The NCAA gets to use athletes as chattel, making billions of dollars. The trade off is supposed to be “they get a free education.” Well, investigations have proven that to be a lie.

    1. Nick – the NBA has money in the European basketball league. And the NFL does draft from arena football and CFL.

  10. The lawyer who filed this lawsuit should be identified here on the blog so that we can perhaps send some condolences for being a dumbschmuck with a law degree.
    A serial rapist goes to school at MIT or Florida bumfuk and the university is responsible for what he does off campus? If he did it in class it would be one thing. Or on the football field at half time before a crowd.

    Motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

    But, the school is in Florida. Maybe the lawyer for the school will need some help. Perhaps this blog could have a chime-in topic where we draft motions and memorandums of law for the FL lawyer for the so called University. The taxpayers down there need some protection.

  11. I’m still unclear how it is the University’s problem when the incident happened off campus.

    And how the university held the trial required by a bureaucrats letter (it’s not in the law folks), didn’t give the accuser the result she wanted, and not becomes literally a federal case.

    And how the whole Title IX tribunal system isn’t one of the most massive violations of due process and the whole spirit of our judicial traditions since the Japanese internment camps of WWII.

  12. If the school is liable then so is the tribe. Sue the Seminoles or whatever tribe it is.

  13. Perhaps the process this person/rape victim? followed is suspect. Perhaps she is totally in the wrong and the quarterback is in the right. One thing that seems to be emerging from this and other incidents, such as the slide the boys got for the hit and run, is that privileges go with playing football in college. This has always been the case with ‘dolts’ being tutored for their last years in high school and throughout college so that they can bring three hundred pounds and rising to the line on the weekend. Americans seem to have accepted this as part of a ‘college education’ given the money these gladiator sports bring in, not to mention keeping the ‘mob’ satiated.

    However, at good ole FSU there seems to be a code that when punched in, takes a football player, not to jail, when he commits a crime but to the woodshed for a talking to-perhaps a good laugh, not even a whooping. Perhaps a good ole lawsuit for a few good ole hundreds of millions will do what the paid off police are incapable of doing. After all, like getting an academic degree for playing football, being groomed from high school for tens if not hundreds of millions in future revenue and wages in the big leagues, suing the a** off of someone is also as American as apple pie. Young Winston should look forward to getting to know some da** good high price lawyers in his future.

    1. issac – as a former tutor for college athletes, I can tell you that 1) the ‘full-ride scholarship’ they get is not actually a full ride 2) during the semester of their sport they put in 40 hours a week at their sport plus are required to take 12 semester hours of classes. Tutoring is available and some needed it and some didn’t. For football players, it was by position. The more likely they were to get hit continually, the more tutoring they needed. Quarterbacks rarely needed tutoring. Basketball was by attitude, the more attitude the player had the more tutoring they needed. The other sports it was as needed. Baseball players were the funniest, they all sat like they were on the bench in the dugout. Whether they needed tutoring or not, they came as a group. 🙂

  14. The case however presents difficulties for the plaintiffs because she did not inform the university until a year after the alleged attack.

    She did however report the incident to police contemporaneously. This doesn’t change the likelihood of success in this case but it does speak to the likelihood the accusation is not fraudulent.

    I don’t understand the suit against the school, unless it’s opportunism by people using her as a political pawn. In this case the outrage is the police’s performance, not the school’s.

    Plaintiff’s only information was gained through brief, privileged victim-advocate conversations.”

    Isn’t this exactly how complainants are supposed to get information for their own protection and comfort?

  15. “….she did not inform the university until one year after the alleged attack.” And since law enforcement is not involved, she also did not call the police immediately after the alleged attack. No police investigation, no medical examination after the alleged attack, no collection of evidence.

  16. Like OJ, it will be easier to get money from Winston in a civil suit and easier to win, since the bar is lower.

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