Home / National News / Prosecutor Vows 'Thorough' Sex Assault Probe into Star QB


(MIAMI) — Jameis Winston, the Florida State Seminoles star quarterback, has been voted the Atlantic Coast Conference’s rookie of the year, but the vote came just a day after the prosecutor investigating the sexual assault allegations against the Heisman Trophy favorite said he will complete a thorough investigation.

State Attorney Willie Meggs said this week he will conduct the investigation “not based on a football schedule or anyone else’s calendar.”

Meggs’ statement is a reference not only to the Seminole’s shot at a national title, but Winston’s campaign for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. An official in the State Attorney’s office said a decision on charges could come late this week or next — preceding the Dec. 14 Heisman vote by just a couple of days.

Winston, 19, has been hit with accusations of sexual battery in connection with an alleged assault in a Tallahassee apartment Dec. 7, 2012, according to a heavily redacted police report. However, the case did not reach prosecutors until last month.

Winston’s attorney, Timothy Jansen, acknowledge his client had sex with his accuser, but insists it was consensual.

“We are hopeful that this cloud will be removed from Jameis as soon as possible,” Jansen told ABC News Tuesday.

Jansen says he was told back in February by police that the case was closed. Interim Tallahassee Police Chief Tom Coe held a news conference two weeks ago and said the case was never closed.

“When we received a media inquiry, TPD consulted with the state attorney’s office. At that time, that case was reopened or reactivated. Let me reiterate to you please, the case was never closed,” Coe said.

The Tallahassee Police Department has come under fire for their handling of the investigation after the alleged victim’s attorney said detectives warned them about pressing charges against Winston.

Detectives allegedly told the alleged victim’s attorney, Patricia Carroll, that Tallahassee was a “big football town, and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable,” the victim’s family said in a statement last month.

Coe said his department could only make “limited” remarks about the case because it was an open investigation and he did not want to influence the way the victim and Winston were treated. But under mounting pressure, Tallahassee police finally took Winston’s DNA samples last month, nearly a year after the alleged rape.

Meggs will ultimately decide whether charges should be brought against Winston, a freshman who has led FSU to an undefeated season. The timing of possible charges is coming at the height of Winston’s monster season, passing for 3,490 yards and throwing 35 touchdowns.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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