Rape Allegations against Jameis Winston Dropped
Awarded to the year’s most promising college player, the contender for this year's Heisman Trophy is Jameis Winston. He has just been told he will not face rape charges laid against him earlier this year. The decision, by the state's attorney for the Florida Second Judicial Circuit, William N. Meggs, came after the Tallahassee police investigation received criticism for what was called a "lackluster" investigation. As a result of the allegations, a cloud had been raised over Winston’s future with the Florida State team.
Allegations of sexual assault are notoriously hard to prove because it is rare for other witnesses to be present to verify the allegations or provide evidence which negates them. However, any allegation of a serious crime like rape immediately affects the life of the accused. Even those who are not in the public spotlight like Jameis Winston, need an effective and skillful criminal defense lawyer to help them fight any charge of this nature that is brought against them.
The charge against the successful Florida State quarterback was brought by a female student at the university after what she alleges was a forced sexual assault off campus. The incident happened nearly a year ago on 6th December after the 19 year old woman had been drinking in a bar near campus. She said that she did not remember fully the events that took place after being taken back to an apartment, but remembers being forcibly raped. She did not know who had assaulted her, but told police it was Jameis Winston after seeing photographs of him nearly a month later.
DNA extracted just after the woman first reported the incident matches Jameis Winston, but the footballer has stated that he had had consensual sex with the woman and there was no force involved at all. Winston’s side of the story has been vigorously denied by the woman’s family. One reason for the criticism of the police investigation was that they did not take a DNA sample from Winston until a month ago despite the woman’s allegation and the fact that a DNA sample was available for possible matching.
The controversy around the rape allegations is related to Winston’s success as well as the value of his performance to his team, the Seminoles, which is on track to become the most successful team this year in college football. Winston is also in line for a prestigious trophy, the Heisman Trophy, for the year’s most promising college player. The rape allegations, if they had eventuated in a conviction, would have probably meant a difficult decision about the trophy and most likely would have meant Winston being dropped by the team.
The Tallahassee police have been criticized for not taking the rape allegation seriously enough and the woman’s family has said that her attorney was told by a police officer that if she continued with the allegation that she would be publicly scorned by the football mad community.
The police investigation was also criticized by the state attorney, William N. Meggs, who took over the investigation from the police. He said that he was not swayed by the fact that Winston was such a popular figure in sport and he would make a determination which would take no notice of his contribution to his sport. He also said that his investigation into the rape allegations was not speeded up to take into account sporting fixtures.
The decision, which was made at 2 p.m. on Thursday, was reached because of a lack of supporting evidence, according to Meggs. He said that the incident and the evidence available had been carefully considered but the balance of evidence was simply not sufficient to proceed with a prosecution. The decision, while no doubt being a relief to Winston himself and his team, is not expected to diminish the criticism of the way the police handled the whole affair.