The attorney who represents Jameis Winston’s accuser today called on the Florida attorney general’s office to reopen the sexual assault investigation, saying “no investigation was conducted to speak of into the suspect in this case.”
Patricia Carroll blasted the handling of the investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department and the state attorney’s office at a press conference today in Zephryhills, Fla. Carroll said local authorities seemed to focus most of the investigation on the alleged victim and not Winston, now a star freshman quarterback for Florida State University.
“It appears to me to be a complete failure of an investigation of a rape case,” Carroll said. “If victims are subjected on an ongoing basis to what this victim was, there is a serious problem in the state of Florida and certainly the Tallahassee area.”
On the eve of a Heisman Trophy ceremony where Winston is the heavy favorite among six candidates, Carroll suggested local police and prosecutors failed to thoroughly look into the case because of Winston’s football fame. Carroll previously accused a Tallahassee detective, Scott Angulo, of attempting to discourage the victim’s family from pursuing the case. Tallahassee police have denied this accusation.
Last week, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced no charges would be filed against Winston in connection with the sexual assault investigation dating back to December 2012. Meggs said there wasn’t enough evidence to win a conviction against Winston, in part because of the accuser’s spotty memory.
In the news conference today, Carroll highlighted several issues she had with the investigation, including differences between medical records released to the media and records held by the accuser’s family. Carroll said the records released to the public omitted specifics on the accuser’s injuries, a “clinical impression” note made by an examiner suggesting the accuser was sexually assaulted, and references to a prescription for pain medication.
She also pointed out that her client’s actions on the night of the alleged assault — Dec. 7, 2012 — were consistent with someone who was drugged, possibly explaining her memory problems. But because the accuser’s urine wasn’t sent to the lab until January, Carroll said, “I don’t have confidence in the validity” of the toxicology reports.
Carroll also accused Angulo, one of the detectives working the case and a 1998 FSU graduate (which isn’t particularly unusual in a town the size of Tallahassee), of failing to return the alleged victim’s calls after January.
The accuser was an FSU student during the December incident but left school after her attorney was told by police that information about the case was about to be released to the media.
Carroll said the accuser’s life has “been turned upside down.” Before leaving school last month, she had the tires on her car slashed and soon after left her sorority. “She’s not doing well, but she’s a strong girl,” Carroll said.
In the days after the case became public last month, school police were called twice to the woman’s on-campus sorority house. One call involved an anonymous online threat to burn down the house, and another involved an unknown male making vulgar comments to one of the sorority members. The FSPD’s documentation doesn’t specifically link either incident to the Winston case, and no charges were filed.
Numerous other threats and derisive comments were made about the woman on message boards and other websites.
Meanwhile, at a college football awards show near Orlando yesterday, Winston was selected as the Walter Camp player of the year and also won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback. He thanked his family, coaches, and teammates for support and added, “I know I did nothing wrong.”