TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
Friday, Oct 24, 2014
Colleges

Report: DNA links FSU’s Winston to accuser

By
Published:   |   Updated: November 21, 2013 at 06:18 AM

ESPN is reporting that a DNA analysis completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed that DNA recently provided by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of a Tampa Bay area woman who has accused him of sexual battery.

According to the DNA analysis, the chances of the DNA are a match for someone other than Winston was one in 2.2 trillion. However, the DNA match alone does not prove that Winston sexually assaulted the woman, only that his DNA was associated with her Dec. 7, when she claims a sexual assault took place.

The ESPN report comes as an attorney for the woman said a Tallahassee Police Department detective told her that “Tallahassee was a big football town’’ and “the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable,’’ according to a statement released by the student’s family on Wednesday.

Attorney Patricia Carroll, who has offices in Dade City and Tampa, said the woman who accused Winston of rape is from the Tampa Bay area. She was enrolled at FSU on Nov. 12, when the family learned that the sexual assault investigation into the reported December 2012 sexual assault had become active again. The woman has since returned home.

Carroll told The Tampa Tribune she contacted Detective Scott Angulo in January after the woman had identified Winston as the suspect and the family “grew concerned that she would be targeted on campus.’’

The attorney disputed a Tallahassee Democrat report that cited a Nov. 12 email from City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. In the email, Thompson wrote that “a representative of the young woman’s family who is an attorney contacted Tallahassee police and said the young woman had changed her mind and did not wish to prosecute.’’

Carroll said her client never told police she didn’t want to press charges and is cooperating with the office of State Attorney Willie Meggs in the investigation. The statement said the family “cannot fathom’’ why prosecutors were not told about the case until last week, when it was reopened because of new information.

Winston, a Heisman Trophy candidate who has the No. 2-ranked Seminoles (10-0) in line for the program’s third national championship, has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

Winston’s attorney, Timothy Jansen, has maintained his client has done nothing wrong and will be exonerated. Jansen said he was told last February by police that the case was closed.

Jansen said Wedneday he wouldn’t respond to the family’s statement and was awaiting a decision from the State Attorney’s office.

Meggs has said he hopes to have the investigation completed sometime this month. The Seminoles face Idaho on Saturday, then travel to Gainesville for a meeting with the Florida Gators on Nov. 30. FSU already has qualified for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 7.

Elliott Finebloom, a spokesman for FSU’s football team, had no comment. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher instructed Winston and FSU players to not speak about the case.

According to the family’s statement, the sexual assault occurred on Dec. 7, when Winston was redshirting during his first football season on campus. According to a partially redacted police report, the woman said the sexual assault happened between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Tallahassee police responded to a call about two hours later.

When Carroll contacted Angulo, according to the statement, they discussed suspending the investigation so the woman could receive counseling. Carroll said the family wanted DNA and blood work done to help their decision.

But Angulo “specifically refused to collect Winston’s DNA or interview Winston’s roommate who witnessed the attack. Detective Angulo stated that such activity would alert Winston and the matter could go public,’’ according to the statement.

The statement said the woman was “devastated’’ when learning that Jansen, an attorney who has represented several FSU football players in legal matters, was informed about the case “as far back as February,’’ while the State Attorney’s office was not contacted.

The woman and her family “never intended for this to become public,’’ the statement said. “(She) was trying to move on with her life which has now been turned upside down again.’’

“The family felt compelled to make a statement,’’ said Carroll, who told the Tribune she has “no faith whatsoever’’ in the Tallahassee Police Department. “It was becoming an attack on the victim and the family felt they needed to address the situation. It was escalating in the press. They certainly didn’t set out to do a press release in this matter.

“But how the victim was being characterized, the misrepresentation of basic facts, a lot of nonsense, it just became so egregious, they had to step up. There is no particular interest in perpetuating the situation. There needed to be some clarifications and the reiteration that the family is fully cooperating with the State Attorney’s office.’’

The family’s statement concluded with several questions “in light of the fact that this matter has now been made public.”

• If Winston’s attorney was aware of the case in February (2012), why didn’t Detective Angulo collect DNA evidence, interview Winston and conduct a proper investigation?

• Why did it take Detective Angulo four months to verbally inform the family of the blood work results?

• Why was Winston not listed as the suspect in the police report once he was identified in early January?

• Why is it being represented in the press that the victim was intoxicated when Detective Angulo told the family that the victim was not intoxicated based on the blood work?

• Why didn’t Detective Angulo or his superiors inform the State Attorney of the crime before the media sought a copy of the police report 11 months after the crime?

• Why was the Florida State University Police Department given a copy of the police report after it was determined they did not have jurisdiction, especially given the fact that Winston’s attorney represents the Florida State University football team and they have a clear conflict of interest?

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

jjohnston@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7353

Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

Subscribe to The Tampa Tribune

Comments