Florida State University opened an inquiry into the sexual assault allegations facing its star quarterback Jameis Winston on Thursday, the victim’s lawyer John Clune said. Winston is accused of rape from a fellow female student in his off-campus apartment nearly 21 months ago. Winston has denied the allegations.
“We thought it went very well,” Clune said. “The school seemed to take it very seriously.”
“This case has been going on for over a year. The case was basically closed and we’re not sure why it’s opened up,” Winston's attorney Tim Jansen said in November 2013. “We’ve been cooperating with the law enforcement agencies and we’re hoping to get a quick resolution in favor of Mr. Winston.”
Though Clune said he is optimistic about the inquiry, it has been a long road to this point for the victim. Although she immediately called police after the incident in December 2012, the New York Times reported that police barely conducted an investigation. Nothing happened until the allegations became public nine months later. At that point, the Talhassee Police Department contacted the prosecutor’s office.
Winston was questioned by Florida State authorities only after he won the Heisman Trophy, an entire year after the allegations were first made. The prosecutor said he did not have enough evidence to accuse Winston.
Almost two years after the incident -- the victim is no longer enrolled in the university -- the school opened an inquiry. Clune believes the delay was caused by Winston’s star role on the championship team.
“There are some good people who want to do the right thing on one side of campus, then you have one of the most powerful athletic departments in the country on the other side of the campus with the No. 1 football team in the nation,” Clune said. “I think we will find out pretty quickly how that struggle will shake out.”