Report: Florida State clears Ronald Darby in Winston case

Sam Cooper
June 4, 2014
Florida State's Ronald Darby trips up Auburn's Quan Bray (4) after a catch during the second half of the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif
Florida State's Ronald Darby trips up Auburn's Quan Bray (4) after a catch during the second half of the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Two of Jameis Winston’s Florida State teammates were witnesses to the sexual encounter in December 2012 that led to the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback being accused of rape. One of them, Ronald Darby, was cleared of any conduct violations by an FSU hearing panel on Wednesday.

USA Today is reporting that the panel found Darby not responsible for “conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person” and “acts that invade privacy of another person.”

“We’re happy with the outcome,” said Tico Gimbel, Darby’s attorney. “We believe it’s the right outcome, and Ronald Darby’s happy to put all of this behind him.”

The attorney of Chris Casher, the other witness to the incident, would not reveal the decision the panel made for his client.

“Out of respect for the process and (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), I can’t tell you the details of what the decision is,” said Casher’s attorney, Adam Ellis. “I can tell you that we’re pleased with it. We felt like Chris had a fair hearing. We feel like they gave him a fair shake.”

Both Darby and Casher said in statements that they watched Winston and the accuser have sex and that they thought it was consensual. Casher also videotaped part of the encounter on his cell phone, but said he later deleted the video and no longer had that specific phone.

According to USA Today, Casher faced the same two charges against Darby and was also charged with “recording images without consent.”

The hearing took place on May 20 and Winston’s accuser was reportedly in attendance. Winston, who also plays for the FSU baseball team, was in North Carolina for the ACC tournament and was not present for the hearing.

Winston was not charged due to a lack of evidence and has not faced any code of conduct charges from the school.

Darby, a cornerback, was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and played in all 14 games for the national champion Seminoles in 2013. 

Casher, a defensive end, redshirted in 2012 and registered 25 tackles in 2013.

For more Florida State news, visit Warchant.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!