With the court ruling on Thursday, Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexual battery following months of investigation. As a result, Winston will not face any further sanctions from the NCAA or suspension by Florida State. With the legal trouble behind him, maybe there should be an investigation into how the Tallahassee Police Department mishandled this case from the start.
This investigation has been flawed from day one. It was initially handled by Florida State’s own Campus Police, but was transferred over to local authorities because the alleged assault took place off campus. This attack supposedly occurred in December 2012, but the victim did not come forward with an identification of Winston until January.
The Tallahassee Police Department then closed the case in February, only to reopen it again to collect DNA from Winston in November, 10 months after the initial assault in question. The family maintains they were never notified of any closure of the case at any point, and were awaiting test results that spring.
The Tallahassee Police Department says it closed the case after the victim recanted her statement and refused to come forward. That’s a stance the attacker’s family has also denied. The family of the victim has since come forward with their own account, including statements that seemed to infer that the victim was intimidated into shelving any investigation, claiming detectives told her that her life would be ‘made miserable’ by any litigation and that Tallahassee is ‘a big football’ town.
Winston had this all play out during one of the best seasons of his career and given the circumstances, he has handled it well. He remains a Heisman front-runner according to surveys, so this case should not turn voters off given the outcome. The Seminoles take on the Duke Blue Devils this Saturday for the ACC title.
The Tallahassee Police Department fumbled this case big-time, and I hope the victim and has family are able to find justice. It just won’t be at the hands of Winston any longer.