1080 The FAN
Portland's All-Sports Station. You Know Us, We Know Sports!

Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
College Football
Scoreboard|Standings|Teams|Leaders|Polls

FSU and its star QB Winston could face lawsuit

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, file)

By TAMARA LUSH and GARY FINEOUT

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) The attorney for a woman who accused star Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault said Thursday that she intends to sue the school, the Tallahassee Police Department and the player himself.

Also Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott's office released letters written to him in December by the accuser and her mother, imploring him to reconsider opening an investigation into the case.

Attorney Patricia Carroll, who represents the woman who accused Winston of rape, said she plans to file a notice to sue the police department early next week. Under Florida law, anyone filing a lawsuit against a government agency must file court paperwork six months prior to the suit itself.

The sexual encounter between Winston and Carroll's client happened on Dec. 7, 2012. Winston's attorney has said more than once that the sex was consensual. No charges were filed against Winston by Leon County prosecutors who investigated the case nearly a year after the woman said the attack happened.

But Carroll said her client, who was an FSU student at the time, was sexually assaulted. The woman was 19 and reported what happened to Tallahassee Police.

At a mid-December news conference, Carroll criticized the way the police investigation was handled, saying that detectives failed to interview key witnesses, used unreliable and incomplete forensic tests and never tested the alleged victim's blood for the presence of date-rape drugs. Carroll said that her client was "treated like a suspect."

Tallahassee police have defended their handling of the case and Carroll said she received a letter from the department that said an internal review found that the case was handled with proper procedures.

David Northway, a spokesman for the police department, said in a statement Thursday that "based upon the facts and information gathered, no violation of department policy or Florida law was identified on the part of the investigators assigned to this case; therefore no formal internal affairs investigation will be conducted in this matter."

Northway also said: "The reports in this case document that our department took the case seriously, processed evidence and conducted an investigation based on information available at that time. We take seriously the obligation to respond to any individual who wants to report a crime."

FSU and an attorney for Winston couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Carroll has also criticized police for not submitting her client's sexual assault kit to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab until Jan. 17, 2013 - 39 days after it was taken. The attorney questioned whether evidence was properly preserved during those 39 days.

Carroll says she asked Florida's attorney general, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the governor for an independent examination into the rape investigation, claiming it was riddled with problems.

Scott "didn't even give us the courtesy of a response," Carroll said Thursday.

On December 13, Scott, through a spokeswoman, said he declined to look into the matter. Jackie Schutz at the time said local prosecutors and state law-enforcement authorities did "a thorough investigation of this case and they concluded that no further action on this matter is required."

Carroll sent Scott a letter on Dec. 19 - along with one from the woman and her mother.

The documents were released Thursday by Scott's office following a public records request.

In a one-page letter, the woman who has accused Winston told Scott that her attorney received calls from two other FSU students who said they were raped, but were "discouraged" from going through with a prosecution. Carroll said the family members of those two women contacted her following her December news conference. The Associated Press does not normally identify people who say they may have been victims of sexual assault.

The accuser's mother said in her letter that she knows the governor has daughters and asked him to "put yourself in my shoes for a moment."

Her daughter did not "fabricate" a rape, the woman wrote, and did not know Winston prior to Dec. 7, 2012.

"I want to tell you about my daughter with the hopes that you will see her as a real person and not just some name on a police report," the mother wrote, adding that her daughter was heavily involved in school activities and was a leader on sports teams and student government. "I am hoping that this letter makes an impact on your decision and you direct FDLE to open an investigation into the Tallahassee Police Department's handling of this matter. I will not give up on my daughter and will do everything in my power to see that everyone finds out the truth."

The 20-year-old Winston became the second freshman to win the Heisman trophy given to college football's most outstanding player. He joined Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke as the school's three Heisman winners.

Winston led Florida State to its first undefeated season and national championship since 1999 after setting national freshman records for yards passing and touchdown passes. The Seminoles defeated Auburn 34-31 to capture the third national title in school history.

---

Lush reported from St. Petersburg. Associated Press writer Kareem Copeland contributed to this report.

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush

Updated January 9, 2014

w12 © 2015 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

NBA Playoffs on The FAN


The FAN is your home for the NBA Playoffs. Listen to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals with ESPN, and follow The FAN's AP NBA Page for previews and recaps.

NFL to change extra-point kicks to longer distance


(AP) The NFL is moving back extra-point kicks and allowing defenses to score on conversion turnovers. The owners on Tuesday approved the competition committee's proposal to . . . more.

Golfers scoff at Chambers Bay warnings


(AP) Mike Davis hasn't caused this much consternation since he spoke at a PGA Tour players meeting about the evils of the long putter. Only this time, he was extolling the virtues . . . more.

Kraft: Patriots won't appeal


(AP) Now that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is not appealing his team's punishments in the deflated footballs scandal, only his quarterback's challenge remains. More.

Gasol to consider free agency options


(AP) The Memphis Grizzlies head into the offseason with a major goal: re-signing their free agent All-Star center. Marc Gasol is in no hurry, he's on his own timetable. More.

Aldridge has thumb surgery


(AP) Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge had surgery Monday to repair a ligament in his left thumb. The team said in a statement that . . . more.

Carroll: Irvin's comments misinterpreted


(AP) Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin's recent declaration that he would be playing in Atlanta in 2016 doesn't mean what everyone thinks it does, according to coach Pete . . . more.

NCAA body calls for 30-second shot clock


(AP) The NCAA made a series of changes to men's college basketball two seasons ago in an attempt to boost scoring and reduce physical play under the basket. More.

49ers DL Justin Smith retires


(AP) When Justin Smith decided that his body wouldn't let him perform up to his own lofty standards, he knew it was time to stop playing. Smith announced Monday that he is . . . more.

The Mariners Page


For the latest on M's Baseball, including player moves, previews, real time gamecasts and recaps, head to The FAN's Mariners Page.

The FAN's Golf Page


The FAN's Golf Page is where you can go for the latest AP coverage of the PGA, LPGA, Web.Com, European and Champion's Tour info. From leader boards to stories, it's all right here.