We'll never know what happened between Winston and his accuser; Winston's camp claims the sex was consensual while his accuser obviously disagrees.
The issue largely is, as it always is, the initial investigation and how it appears that the police screwed it up from the get-go:
... experts familiar with the case say Tallahassee police botched critical aspects of the investigation from the start.
If police had conducted the inquiry better, they said, prosecutors might have closed the case months ago - and without so many unanswered questions. http://www.tampabay.com/news/p...
One expert wonders if the Tallahassee police actions were "incompetent or willful."
College football in Florida is huge as it is in most of the South. Jameis Winston is a freshman star who has helped lead a resurgence of the once-great Florida State program. Was that a factor in the lack of a thorough police investigation?
Did the fact that the woman had been drinking in a bar and admits getting into a taxi with men she did not know mean she was asking for it and therefore got what she deserved? The Tallahassee Police aren't talking.
They did talk to the accuser early on but they did not talk to "Chris" who she named as someone she met at the bar and who walked in, and videotaped, the attack. The police knew from the beginning that there was video evidence and didn't bother to look for it. But, come on you might say, how many young men named Chris are there in Tallahassee. In this case finding Chris was easy:
Back then, police also didn't look for the freshman football player named Chris. A simple review of the Seminoles' 2012 roster shows Chris Casher was the only true freshman on the team with that first name. Investigators later learned that Casher was Winston's roommate and had walked in on the sexual activity - in part to record it on his cellphone.
Police also didn't take the bar's video surveillance tapes which were eventually overwritten. They did not actively look for the taxi driver who took the accuser and, presumably, Winston from the bar.
We could also suggest the woman wanted to cause trouble for Winston for some reason except:
Winston was not identified as a suspect until Jan. 10, when the woman recognized him in a class and called the detective.
I don't live in Tallahassee so I don't know how much exposure Winston got from the local media or how well known he was in the local area as the FSU quarterback but I do know the season hadn't started yet so he certainly wasn't the national name he's become in the college football-following circles; that came maybe midway through the season when he was playing really well and had FSU undefeated.
The case was eventually deactivated in February and was reactivated only after media outlets reported the incident. Of course, the timing of that has brought up the question of motivation of "going after" Winston since the story came out when his name was being included in Heisman talk. I was a bit skeptical myself until I read more about the timing of the alleged assault.
Then there was the behavior of State Attorney Willie Meggs during his announcement that no charges would be filed which led to:
The Seminole alum-turned-prosecutor decided, then, to turn it into his own amateur hour at the Improv.
That he had a willing audience of journalists laughing along with him-and, inexplicably, a former state senator (now lobbyist) named Al Lawson prompting the guffaws-is equally, if not more, offensive. Twitter certainly took notice of the lighthearted approach to a rape case, with observers from Samantha Ponder to Luther Campbell taking umbrage at the jokes. We'd like you to focus on one part, though: at the 18-second mark, one perturbed female journalist utters a loud "COME ON." If only someone else had spoken up, or asked Meggs why a rape investigation is ever a laughing matter. [ESPNU] http://deadspin.com/pols-press...
Remarkably, at a later press conference with Winston's attorney, a reporter asked if he knew of any affiliation the accuser might have with the University of Alabama (one of the teams at the time vying with FSU for #1 in the rankings).
And we wonder why more women don't come forward. We wonder why celebrities feel like they can get away with anything.
I don't claim to know what happened on December 7, 2012 between the woman and Jameis Winston. Frankly, it smacks of Kobe Bryant to me with maybe some Ben Roethlisberger tossed in. Winston may not have been the Heisman frontrunner, and by all accounts shoo-in or the QB of the undefeated top-ranked team in the country (FSU was preseason 11-12 depending on the poll) but again football is huge in Florida. That area is filled with FSU alum looking for a return of the glory days.
But it isn't just Florida or college; Steubenville OH is still dealing with the fall-out of a case where the behavior of the adults in the community are as much in question as the actions of the rapists with allegations of a cover-up. Just yesterday,
Four adults in Steubenville, Ohio, including the school's superintendent, pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges stemming from the handling of the investigation into the rape of a teenage girl in August 2012.
The rape case drew national attention to Steubenville, a town about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, after a photo and video that appeared to document the assault of the 16-year-old girl were posted online. http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-sch...
Steubenville, as is much of Ohio, is also a huge football town. It is also not a thriving community, to be kind, so there is much enthusiasm and likely a sense of escape and pride in the team. Is that enough to overlook or cover-up a crime? Apparently some folks think so.
Then there is the notion that a drunk woman is fair game; somehow she asked for it or deserved it. Blaming the victim is easier than confronting the behavior of the attacker. And quite frankly how disgusting does one have to be to want to engage in a sex act with someone unresponsive or so stinking drunk she won't remember? In the case of the Steubenville teenager a witness testified that one of the attackers tried to get her to perform oral sex on him but she was too damned drunk to do so. I realize these guys were 16 and most likely spend most of their time not on the football field thinking with that head south-of-the-border but that doesn't excuse taking advantage of someone too drunk to defend herself.
That certainly doesn't excuse the adults who were willing to look the other way in order to presumably protect the players. The doesn't excuse the media who are often too quick to assume the player's celebrity automatically means the accuser is in it for money or celebrity of her own. Or for lumping every accuser into the "she's making it up" category when in 2010 Violence Against Women published a ten-year study that found the percentage of false allegations was ... 5.9.
We've come a long way, baby, but we are still too often see as sluts, whores, asking for it while men are too often forgiven for being men or misunderstood or too important as a sports or entertainment celebrity. We change this partly by education and consequences. We change this by recognizing that we need to effectively protect ourselves from being victims before an assault and afterward as well.
Jameis Winston may or may not be a rapist; we'll likely never know. That he'll win the Heisman Trophy tonight like nothing happened while his accuser will know that those who might have kept her from being a victim a second time by doing a competent investigation is a travesty to me. Jameis Winston says he knew he'd be "vindicated." Not by me; he'll always have an asterisk by his name ~ Jameis Winston *rapist?