The federal government has opened up an investigation of Florida State University’s handling of sexual assault allegations against quarterback Jameis Winston and potential Title IX violations by the university.
According to USA Today Sports, the probe stems from a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights by the accuser in the Winston case. The accuser is a Florida State University student who claims to have been raped by Winston on December 7, 2012. On Thursday, Deadspin.com reported that school officials met with Winston in January 2013 to discuss the matter, but that the school might have violated federal law by delaying its investigation and meeting with Winston alone despite opposite legal advice.
The district attorney in the case didn’t file charges against Winston after documents from the initial investigation revealed conflicting stories about the sexual interaction. According to ESPN, Winston’s accuser filed her complaint with the Office of Civil Rights just last month. The Office of Civil Rights stipulates to schools that "conduct may constitute unlawful sexual harassment under Title IX even if the police do not have sufficient evidence of a criminal violation," as reported by ESPN.
"Our client is particularly gratified by the OCR's decision to investigate and look for discrimination and find remedies to it," the accuser's lawyer, Baine Kerr told ESPN, "because her primary goal, from the beginning, has been affecting change that will make women at Florida State safer on campus."
Despite the Winston case looming over their heads throughout the season, the Florida State Seminoles won the National Championship with a 34-31 win over Auburn on January 6, 2014. Winston was named the Heisman Trophy winner last year.
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