In March, the U.S. Department of Edcuation's Office of Civil Rights reportedly began an investigation into Florida State's handling of the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations. School officials did not seek to question Winston or involved teammates Chris Casher and Ronald Darby until January 2014, after which Casher and Darby were reportedly cited by the school for code of conduct violations.
Winston faced no such citation, and an attorney for his accuser told USA Today in a Friday report that the reason was simple: on the advice of his legal counsel, Winston had refused to cooperate.
"The university took the position that since he refused to respond to questions, they could not make any Title IX findings," attorney Baine Kerr said. "We have objected to that as impermissible reason to delay or terminate a Title IX sexual assault investigation because that would permit any charged party to thwart an investigation simply by refusing to answer questions."
Kerr has asked Florida State to re-open its investigation and charge Winston with code of conduct violations. The school declined to comment to USA Today, though in a statement responding to Wednesday's New York Times report on both the Tallahassee police and Florida State investigations of the claims against Winston, the school vehemently defended its handling of the case.
The Times reported that a police email showed that an athletic department official was aware of the complaint against Winston in January 2013, a full year before the school opened its own investigation, as required by Title IX.
Winston's accuser filed a complaint over the school's response with the Office of Civil Rights in March, prompting its inquiry into whether the school had followed Title IX guidelines.
Through his attorneys, Winston has denied all wrongdoing, saying the sexual encounter between himself and his accuser in 2012 was consensual.