Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will not face charges in the investigation of a sexual battery complaint from December 2012.
State attorney Willie Meggs concluded that "no charges will be filed" after an investigation of the case, explaining in a press conference Thursday that the "timing [of the case] has not been driven by Heisman demands or a football schedule."
Shortly after the news conference, documents from the investigation were released by the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida Department of Law Encforcement. The accuser told police that she remembers consuming several shared drinks with friends at Potbelly's, a Tallahassee establishment, but was not sure how she ended up in a cab with the suspect (Winston) and other males. Other Florida State football players named in the police documents of the case include defensive end Chris Casher (Winston's roommate at the time) and defensive back Ronald Darby. The accuser told police that she was assaulted in the bedroom of a first-floor apartment matching the description of the residence shared by Winston and Casher.
The accuser did not identify the suspect as Jameis Winston until January 2013, when the woman saw Winston in a class. The Tallahassee Police Department alerted Winston to the allegations, but the case was then suspended on Feb. 11, 2013 "due to a lack of cooperation from the victim."
According State Attorney Meggs, DNA tests of the accuser's pink shorts and underwear revealed not only Winston's DNA but an unknown source. Meggs indicated there was little cooperation from the accuser in identifying that source, which is why the case took as long as it did. When asked if the woman had sex with more than one male, Meggs told reporters "that would be a logical conclusion."
Shortly after Meggs' announcement, the accuser's family released a statement through their attorney, Patricia Carroll.
The victim and her family appreciate the State Attorney's efforts in attempting to conduct a proper investigation after an inordinate delay by the Tallahassee Police Department.
The victim in this case had the courage to immediately report her rape to the police and she relied upon them to seek justice.
The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting.
Had Winston been charged with a felony, he would have been suspended indefinitely from the football team until the legal issue was resolved, per school policy. Florida State currently ranks No. 1 in the BCS standings and will play for the ACC Championship against Duke on Saturday night.
"I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for standing by me during a difficult time," Winston said in a prepared statement. "I also want to thank the State Attorney's Office for examining all the facts and reaching a decision in a conclusive manner. it's been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I'm very relieved I'll be able to continue my education at Florida State and I'm excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals."
The decision also has major implications for the Heisman Trophy race. Winston is a runaway favorite to win the award according to the oddsmakers, but some Heisman voters may have been hesitant to put the Seminoles redshirt freshman quarterback on the ballot due to the ongoing investigation.
Heisman Trophy ballots are due Dec. 9, after the final week of the regular season and conference championship games.
Winston finished two votes shy of being a unanimous first-team choice on the All-ACC team and was named the league's Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year on Wednesday. His 192.6 passing efficiency rating leads the nation and he set a new Florida State single-season record with 35 passing touchdowns in 2013.