TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the adviser for the family of Jameis Winston has asked Florida State why it has chosen now to engage in the Title IX process and accuses the school of trying to protect its own interests and responding to media pressure.
Florida State announced last week it will use an independent official in a student code of conduct hearing. A female student said Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012.
Attorney David Cornwell notes in a letter that university and federal policy requires a timely investigation. He asks university officials why Florida State ignored those guidelines and writes that Winston deserves a prompt explanation.
Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to press charges against Winston last December due to a lack of evidence.
The university said in a release last week that the only people aware of the incident before January 2013 were Tallahassee police, campus police and the Victims Advocate Program. The program is not required to share information with school officials as a way to help victims. Florida State said its Title IX officials didn’t become aware of the incident until November 2013, when contacted by the Tallahassee Police Department.
The university said the woman was not made available for an interview with the school until Aug. 6, 2014. The woman’s lawyers have maintained that she was willing to talk throughout the process.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher had similar concerns as Cornwell on Monday when he said recent reports about the investigation haven’t revealed any new facts.
“This country is based off being innocent until proven guilty, not guilty till you’re proven innocent,” Fisher said. “There is no victim because there was no crime.”
Baine P. Kerr, one of the woman’s attorneys, released a statement on behalf of his client Friday in response to Florida State’s timeline. He said the university was “trying to do a little preventative damage control” and said the university’s timeline was full of errors.
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