Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston managed to avoid sexual assault charges last November after allegations arose that he was involved in the rape of a fellow Florida State University student.
But a new report published by the New York Times shows that no one really delved deep into the allegations against the star quarterback who led the FSU Seminoles to an undefeated season and a national championship victory.
Winston’s accuser reported the incident to police the night after it allegedly took place, but the investigation turned out to be flawed from the beginning, according to the Times investigation published on Wednesday. In spite of the accuser having bruises when she reported the case, the police failed to follow the obvious leads in the allegation and didn’t identify the suspect as Winston until a month after the rape claim was made.
They also allowed several pieces of evidence to go missing that were a part of the case, such as the video of Winston having sex with the accuser that was recorded by one of his fellow teammates. Winston and his two teammates that were also involved in the case claim the sex was consensual and that he did not assault her.
The detective assigned to the case, Scott Angulo, closed the investigation after two months citing a lack of cooperation from the accuser — but the lawyer for the female former FSU student says that is false and the accuser was more than willing to cooperate with the investigation.
The Times reported that Angulo has also worked part-time security for a FSU booster club before, but this potential conflict of interest did not result in the case being reassigned.
The case was buried for nearly a year after the allegations were made against Winston by the accuser to the Tallahassee Police Department. The case was reopened after the Tampa Bay Times published a story about the allegations last November, but no charges were eventually filed against Winston.
The prosecutor who investigated the case in November believes that there were numerous errors committed in the investigation and it ultimately led him to not press charges against the star football player.
“They just missed all the basic fundamental stuff that you are supposed to do,” William Meggs told the Times.
Meggs singled out the length of time it took to identify the suspect — which he feels should have taken a far shorter amount of time — and the fact that Angulo chose to interview Winston by phone instead of talking with him in person.
“It’s insane to call a suspect on the phone,” Meggs said.
A Title IX investigation has been launched into how FSU handled the case and Winston’s teammates who were involved have been charged — but not Winston himself.