Florida State University

FSU Seminoles QB Jameis Winston could face code of conduct charge stemming from alleged 2012 sexual assault

Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston, who was accused of sexual assault stemming from a 2012 incident but was not charged, could still be penalized by the university, which is conducting an investigation.

An attorney for the accuser told USA Today that FSU officials met with his client last month. USA Today reports that it’s the first meeting between the university and the woman since she reported the assault to FSU police in December 2012.

“They assured us that the Title IX process was going to move forward,” John Clune, the Title IX attorney representing the woman, told USA Today.

Clune said he expects FSU to bring code-of-conduct charges against Winston and that “there is no basis not to bring those charges now.”

“The interview went pretty well,” Clune added. “I think it was a positive experience and everyone felt like the university was taking it very seriously.”

Allegations of the assault were first made public in November 2013 at the height of Winston’s run at the Heisman Trophy and a national championship for the Seminoles.

After a weeks-long investigation, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced Dec. 4 that Winston would not face charges.

“We have a duty as prosecutors to only file those charges if we have a reasonable likelihood of a conviction,” Meggs said at the time. “After reviewing all of the evidence in the case, we did not feel we could meet that burden.”

Winston could still face consequences if he is found to have violated FSU’s code of conduct. Those consequences range from a verbal reprimand to expulsion.

Two of Winston’s teammates, Ronald Darby and Chris Casher, had disciplinary hearings earlier this year for their roles in the alleged assault. Darby was not found responsible for any violations. Casher was found responsible for two violations. He received one year of disciplinary probation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Casher didn’t play in last week’s season opener and will miss Saturday’s game against the Citadel, but FSU said his absence is academics-related.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said after Thursday’s practice that he is aware of Winston’s situation and downplayed its effect on the team.

“I have no idea how that’ll go, what it’s about,” Fisher said. “That’s for the other people to find out. We’re just going to play ball.”

The report comes one day after FSU interim president Garnett S. Stokes announced a new campus-wide initiative designed to prevent sexual assaults.

FSU says its “kNOw MORE” campaign is its “most visible effort to educate the university community about responsible conduct and the meaning of consent.”

“Florida State University does not tolerate sexual violence,” Stokes said in a news release. “Even one case of sexual violence is too many. Colleges across the nation are looking at ways to better address the issue, and we want to do all that we can do to help ensure that every member of our community has a safe, healthy and positive experience at FSU.”

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