Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Was FSU delinquent in investigation?

When we hear about charges of sexual assault against a male athlete, we usually get details about how police investigations are proceeding or when charges may or may not be brought, potential penalties, etc.
Some of this is happening in regards to the accusations of sexual assault against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. For example, prosecutors investigating the claims (almost a year after they were brought to the Tallahassee police which encouraged the alleged victim to not pursue the issue) say that they will  not let the football schedule (or the fact that Winston is a Heisman contender) influence the pace of the investigation which seems to be moving slowly. Though, I would think this would be beneficial to Winston and FSU generally. Nothing formal happening while FSU could contend for the national championship would seem like a good thing him and the team and the school.
Alas, the school itself is under scrutiny because the victim reported the incident, which Winston states was consensual after it was leaked that his DNA was found on the accuser's underwear, when it happened--a year ago. The school was supposed to, under Title IX, investigate within a 60-day window. It is unclear whether that happened, but concern is certainly raised by a school investigation that would be still be ongoing a year later. School officials seemed to suggest that investigations and their pace are a case-by-case consideration, which is actually not the case. And given, well the law, and the visibility of so many instances of institutional indifference and mishandling of sexual assault cases, no school can claim that they just didn't know.
So whatever happens with the criminal investigation, the accuser might have a case against FSU.