State Attorney Willie Meggs announced Thursday that Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged with a crime nearly one year after he was accused of raping a female FSU student. Meggs, the state attorney for Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, said a key factor in his decision included statements made by witnesses that contradicted the accuser’s story.
“We have a duty as prosecutors to determine if each case has a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” he said. “After reviewing the facts in this case, we do not feel that we can reach those burdens.”
The accuser reported the alleged rape to university police immediately after the event took place in December 2012. The university police referred the case to Tallahassee police who labeled the case “open/inactive” in February after the accuser decided she did not want to go forward with her accusations, according to investigators. The case resurfaced in November after media outlets became aware of the initial complaint. Winston’s attorney insists that his client and the accuser had engaged in consensual sex.
Winston, the favorite to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy for most outstanding college football player, can now stay on the field for the No. 1–ranked and undefeated Seminoles. FSU is one win away from playing in the BCS National Championship game. The Seminoles must first get by the No. 20-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game tomorrow in Charlotte, N.C. So far this season, Winston has 3,490 passing yards, an ACC rookie record, and passed for 35 touchdowns.
“It’s been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am,” Winston said in a statement.
The prosecutor’s findings will be made available to the public in the upcoming days. His report will include the fact that the accuser had no outward signs of physical trauma and the fact that the accuser had no drugs in her system.
“The victim in this case had the courage to immediately report her rape to the police and she relied upon them to seek justice,” said Patricia Carroll, the accuser’s attorney. “The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting.”
When asked if Winston received special treatment because of his celebrity status, State Attorney Meggs said, “We try to treat everyone fairly, and I think we have a track record of doing that.”