Forget the ACC title chase. Forget the BCS national title hunt. Forget the Heisman Trophy race. What Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston needs more than anything right now is resolution — but not for any of the three aforementioned unsettled endeavors. Famous Jameis is quickly taking on a different connotation because of a nearly year-long sexual assault investigation.
On late Wednesday, TMZ broke news that Winston has been the subject of a sexual assault investigation for more than 11 months. At 4:43 a.m. ET on Dec. 7, 2012, a report was filed with the Tallahassee Police Department regarding an incident that took place earlier that morning between 1:30 and 2 a.m.
But no charges have been filed. And according to the Heisman contender’s attorney, Tim Jansen, no one from the police or prosecutor’s office has even bothered to speak with Winston about the matter since the report was filed.
The standard procedure for addressing a credible allegation is for police to speak to Winston as soon as possible to preserve the credibility of the investigation. But it also protects the accused. There’s no question that Winston’s recollection of that night was much more clear in the days after, not a year later.
If Winston did sexually assault someone, then he should go to prison — no questions asked. At the same time, however, he deserves some fairness to the process. Is it fair that no one from the police department even took the time to address the allegations with Winston? Is it fair that this investigation has dragged on for nearly a year?
It’s not that the police did nothing. The police report says evidence was collected from the victim and pictures of the victim’s injuries were taken. At least three officer’s names are listed on the report, so they were obviously looking into it and they must have found something.
So, again, why did police not speak to Winston about it? At this point, very little is known and there are tons of questions swirling. We don’t know why it’s taking police so long. Neither does Winston or his attorney.
“This case has been going on for over a year,” Winston’s attorney told the Tallahassee 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.”
But there is one thing that’s certain. Winston deserves a resolution, and so does the alleged victim. This incident has already claimed far too much of their young lives. Headlines like “Jameis Winston Under Investigation for Sexual Assault” and “Jameis Winston’s Sexual Assault Investigation Dashes Florida State’s BCS Title Hopes” won’t quickly disappear from the internet or the memories of heckling fans. Is it fair that he has to endure that?
Forget about innocent until proven guilty — no one from a law enforcement body has even accused Winston of doing anything wrong. Yet, the redshirt-freshman is quickly becoming public enemy no. 1 online. If Winston did something wrong, he should pay the penalty; but whether innocent or guilty, he deserves resolution – and soon.