A woman who accused college football star Jameis Winston of raping her in 2013 filed a lawsuit against Florida State University (FSU) on Wednesday, claiming that the school violated her Title IX rights, which are supposed to protect against sexual harassment and discrimination in educational institutions.
The woman, known only as Jane Doe, said in the suit that the university “in concert with Tallahassee Police, took steps to ensure that Winston's rape of plaintiff would not be investigated either by the university or law enforcement." It further alleges that the school failed to take appropriate action to protect her after she became a target of hostility over the allegations, CNN reported.
"Florida State University is disappointed to learn of this lawsuit," FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement. "After a year of selective news leaks and distorted coverage, Florida State looks forward to addressing these meritless allegations in court. Evidence will show that through its confidential Victim Advocate Program, FSU did everything the plaintiff asked for and that the assertions FSU shirked its Title IX obligations are false."
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking the repayment of her college tuition, damages for emotional pain and suffering, and lost future earnings. There is no specified amount claimed, the Sporting News reported.
Winston was never arrested or charged over the allegations, and an FSU hearing that took place in December also cleared him of any wrongdoing.
In April 2014, the New York Times published a damning report on the investigations into the allegations against Winston, which found that “that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.”
According to the Times, the police failed to follow “obvious leads” and detectives did not even attempt to interview Winston for almost two weeks after his accuser identified him, and never obtained his DNA. The university, the report added, did not promptly investigate the rape allegations, in violation of federal law.
Winston won the 2013 Heisman trophy, awarded to the most valuable college football player of the season. Winston's father announced Wednesday that he would enter the 2015 NFL draft, where he is expected to be a contender for the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, according to MSNBC.
Lester Munson, a legal analyst, told ESPN that the lawsuit could be “a nightmare” for FSU, “given the amount of detail that [Jane Doe and her attorneys] have put together here, I think they have a strong case... there are some egregious errors and omissions on the part of university officials, as they clearly tried to protect their star quarterback, and tried to stop the investigation of this assault.”