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Crime & Courts

Winston accuser 'shaken up,' records say

Published:   |   Updated: December 6, 2013 at 04:56 PM

TALLAHASSEE — The woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her about a year ago was “very shaken up” but could give only a “slight description” of her assailant and “could only recall bits and pieces of the incident,” according to investigative records released Friday.

State Attorney Willie Meggs announced Thursday he was dropping the case, saying there was not enough evidence to win a conviction from a jury.

The accuser is an FSU student who reportedly lives in the Tampa Bay area. She has since left the school. Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, has maintained that the sex was consensual.

The decision not to prosecute Winston, 19, clears him to play Saturday when the No. 1 ranked Seminoles go against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Winston, of Bessemer, Ala., is already Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and a Heisman trophy candidate.

Leon County prosecutors Friday released a redacted version of the nearly 250 pages of documents generated from their inquiry, including a 15-page summary by state attorney's investigator Jason Newlin.

In that report, the woman, who is underage, described drinking with friends the early morning of Dec. 7, 2012, at a bar about a block from FSU's campus.

She reported having about five mixed drinks, after which “she couldn't remember exactly what happened next.”

At a hospital hours later, she tested negative for drugs and had only a 0.04 blood alcohol level.

She did recall getting into a cab with a group of men and winding up in an apartment where she says she had sex against her will in a bedroom and a bathroom.

Midway through the encounter, another black male with “dreads” entered the bedroom and told the man to stop it, which he ignored, the woman said.

She later told a friend “the suspect was on top of her telling her to just let him finish,” the report said.

The woman recalled some details, such as the bed sheets being “gold and red with a fancy polka dot pattern on them.”

Afterward, she said she believed the man put her clothes back on, rode her on a scooter back to campus early the next morning and dropped her off.

In class the next semester, the woman heard Winston's name during a roll call, remembered the man had told her he was a football player and decided it “all made sense” that Winston was her assailant, the report said. She eventually began posting messages on Twitter “saying she hated Jameis Winston.”

Jansen told reporters Thursday he was not aware that Winston owns or has access to a scooter: “He does not have any vehicle.”

But a witness in the apartment told Jansen's own investigator that he saw “Jameis leave with the same girl on his scooter,” records show.

That witness said the woman was “pursuing” Winston, “did not appear intoxicated” and was talking and texting her friends, the report said.

The witness rode in the cab back to the apartment and later saw the two having sex because Winston's bedroom door was broken and would not close completely, according to the report.

“At no time did the girl ever indicate that she was not a willing participant,” the witness said. “In fact, she wanted more privacy by closing the door and turning out the light.”

Another person in the apartment, who said he recorded some of the sex on his mobile phone and then deleted it, corroborated that account.

The woman, however, told Tallahassee police she “was telling the suspect to stop but he did not.” She also tried to “kick the suspect off of her but was unable to.” At one point, she “had her arms pinned down.”

The accuser's family and their attorney, Patricia Carroll of Dade City, have criticized the way Tallahassee police handled the case. Their investigation was placed on inactive status in February and not turned over to Meggs' office until last month.

According to Newlin's report, Tallahassee police investigator Scott Angulo asked her if she were unsure about pressing charges.

She told him she first wanted to see text messages between her and Winston that she suspected he had deleted from her mobile phone. It wasn't clear when they exchanged numbers.

“She said if she felt like it was her having a conversation with a guy that she doesn't remember then it might change her mind,” but she “knows that texting someone doesn't give them consent because she knows she was saying stop,” the report said.

Among other texts were those she sent to a friend, saying, “I got raped. I don't want to text about it … I'm about to cry. It's a long story.”

The investigation also showed a second person's DNA found on the woman's clothes, which investigators linked to her boyfriend, a Florida resident who is a college football player out of state. That DNA was shown to have resulted from prior sex between the two.

“When you have a 'he said, she said' case with a consent defense, that can be a very big hurdle for the prosecution to jump,” said Timothy Hessinger, a Tampa criminal defense attorney and former Pinellas County prosecutor.

“It's always extremely frustrating as a prosecutor,” Hessinger added. “A lot of times, you really don't ever know what happened.”

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