The investigation in a sexual battery complaint against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was halted because the victim stopped cooperating with police and decided not to press charges.
A report in the Tallahassee Democrat cites an email from city manager Anita Favors Thompson written to city commissioners last Tuesday. The email states the victim's lack of cooperation was the reason the case was moved from "open-active" to "open-inactive.”
In the email, Favors Thompson said the Tallahassee Police Department followed up on the case referred to it by Florida State University police “against FSU football player Jameis Winston” by a woman who indicated she was intoxicated at a local bar and was taken advantage of while impaired. TPD initiated an investigation and began to interview witnesses and compile details on the case, but stopped getting responses from the woman and could no longer contact her.
“Shortly thereafter a representative of the young woman’s family who is an attorney contacted TPD and said the young woman had changed her mind and did not wish to prosecute,” the email said.
Tallahassee Police Department spokesman David Northway told the newspaper the case was reopened last week not because of media inquiries – the first coming from Tampa Bay Times reporter Matt Baker on Nov. 8 - but because new information had been obtained. The media inquiries did lead to a standard review of the case.
“Someone integrally involved has (to have) given us a new piece of information,” Northway said. “It has to be someone involved in the case (who) provides a lead to reactivate it.”
The victim in the case has since moved out of Florida, but as of last week, State Attorney Willie Meggs said he was trying to interview her. The victim has retained counsel, which cited Florida’s Rape Shield Law and asked that no information regarding the victim or “her rape” be released to the media.
As of last week, Winston had declined to speak with investigators.
This new information does clear up the 11-month lapse between the initial police report and the case coming to light last week. And it is interesting that “a new piece of information” led the case to be reopened. Also notable is this is the first time we’ve actually seen Winston’s name attached to this case since much of the police report was redacted.
Meggs said last week that a decision whether to proceed with prosecution would come soon.
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