Thursday, December 05, 2013

No charges for Winston; for FSU?

Just when my conspiracy theories were starting to foment, the Florida State Attorney's office announced that it will not bring charges against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. So although the investigation by this office took a long time given that the incident was reported just under a year ago, investigators did not wait until FSU was safely through football season to release the report. Of course the findings, as presented, were good for Winston and, by extension, the FSU football community. (One student fan, a sport management major, said the last few weeks have been quite stressful.)

The investigative process itself was problematic (length of time to complete/act), the way the accuser is being treated is more discouraging. Unconfirmed reports that she and her family were encouraged not to make an issue of this in a football town in combination with the reports that she has memory lapses in regards to the events of that night and was drinking at a bar all create a disconcerting feeling about this case. Given the stories we are hearing from college women across the country regarding how they are treated by officials when they report sexual assault, it is not hard to imagine that the accuser was either not taken seriously or ignored. (She has since left the university.)
And though Winston has been cleared, the university is not free and clear. A lawsuit or complaint could put the spotlight on the university's policies around and procedures for handling reports of sexual assault.