Jameis Winston Rape Case Botched by Tallahassee Police, According to New York Times
Photo by David July via Wikipedia Commons
The New York Times published an in-depth report on how the Tallahassee Police Department handled the Jameis Winston rape case this past November.
And while there are no new game-changing revelations and a lot of what the report covers we wrote about here on the Pulp, it does go into detail at how poorly the TPD seemed to have handled the case and how its ineptitude could also continue to mar Winston and FSU's image.
Or, as the chief assistant state attorney in the case said, though there may not have been a crime committed, it "sheds some light on the way Mr. Winston operates" and on what may be "a recurring problem rather than some type of misunderstanding that occurred in an isolated situation."
Here are some of the report's highlights:
The TPD was slow in its investigation from the beginning
This, despite having three good leads to go with. The initial police report only had the investigating officer calling the bar where the alleged victim had met up with Winston and a teammate. The bar sent the officer an email of a description of the men, and that was it.
The prosecution eventually investigated further, but only after it learned about the case almost a year later.
The TPD waited almost two weeks to call Winston
And when it did, it did so on the telephone. As Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs tells the New York Times: "It's insane to call a suspect on the phone."
DNA samples were taken almost a year after the victim came forward
Also, as we wrote in November, obtaining Winston's DNA proved to be quite difficult.
Even then, prosecutors surrendered to the fact that pursuing a case against Winston would be nearly impossible because it had taken the TPD so long to get them involved.
The TPD tried to persuade the victim not to pursue the case
Its reason: because Tallahassee is a big football town and, as we wrote back in November, investigators told the alleged victim that her family would "be made miserable" if she went ahead with her accusations.
Reports of a second accuser never went anywhere
On December 5, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced at a news conference that Winston would not be charged and that the decision to drop the case was final.
Shortly after that, the accuser's attorney, Patricia Carroll, said Tallahassee Police were faulty in their investigation from the moment her client came forward. She said they failed to interview witnesses, did not conduct blood tests for rape drugs, and sat on the case for almost a year. Carroll said this while demanding an investigation on the TPD that never came. The Times investigation seems to echo those accusations.
Carroll had also claimed that her client had been inundated with letters from other alleged rape victims complaining of the same treatment by the Tallahassee Police Department.
Then there's the report of a second accuser.
Per the New York Times:
A month before the rape accusation became public, the university's victim advocate learned that a second woman had sought counseling after a sexual encounter with Mr. Winston, according to the prosecutor's office. The woman did not call it rape -- she did not say "no." But the encounter, not previously reported, "was of such a nature that she felt violated or felt that she needed to seek some type of counseling for her emotions about the experience," according to Georgia Cappleman, the chief assistant state attorney, who said she had spoken with the advocate but not with the woman.
The victim advocate was concerned enough about the episode to have alerted Mr. Winston's first accuser.
Ms. Cappleman said that based on what she was told, a crime had not been committed. Nonetheless, Ms. Cappleman said she found the encounter troubling, because it "sheds some light on the way Mr. Winston operates" and on what may be "a recurring problem rather than some type of misunderstanding that occurred in an isolated situation."
The Times tried to get Winston's side of things; he released a comment through his attorney, David Cornwell.
"We don't need an investigation, thorough or otherwise, to know that Jameis did not sexually assault this young lady," Cornwell told them. "Jameis has never sexually assaulted anybody."
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.