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No charges to be filed against Heisman hopeful accused of rape

By Gary Fineout

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:52 p.m. HST, Dec 05, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. >> Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexually assaulting a woman who accused him of raping her about a year ago, a prosecutor said today.

State Attorney Willie Meggs made the announcement at a news conference, saying there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.

"After reviewing all the evidence in the case, we did not feel like we could meet that burden," Meggs said.

A search warrant from January, released hours before the news conference, detailed the woman's accusations for the first time. She told police she and friends had five to six shots at a bar and her "memory is very broken from that point forward." She said she remembered being in a cab with a "non-descript" black man and going into an apartment where she was raped.

The woman didn't identify Winston, who is black, until about a month after the alleged assault.

Winston, 19, has led the Seminoles to a No. 1 ranking and a shot at a national championship if they defeat Duke on Saturday.

Many Heisman voters were waiting to see whether Winston will be charged with a crime before casting their ballots. The deadline for ballots is Monday, and the trophy is awarded Dec. 14.

The details of the alleged rape were contained in a search warrant for cellphone records, including text messages. It was dated Jan. 16, six days after the woman identified Winston.

The warrant said she tried to fight the man off, and at some point, another man came into the room and told him to stop. But the two went into a bathroom "where he completed the act."

Her next memory was of the suspect dressing her, putting her on a scooter and dropping her off at a campus intersection. She said she had no idea where the alleged assault took place.

In the short time since Meggs' office took over the case, investigators have taken DNA from Winston, interviewed the alleged victim and looked at other evidence.

Meggs said DNA found in the accuser's underwear matched Winston. Winston's attorney, Timothy Jansen, has suggested Winston had consensual sex with the accuser and he expects the prosecutor will exonerate his client.

Jansen planned to address the media later today.

Patricia Carroll, the attorney representing the alleged victim, has not responded to requests for comment. Her office is expected to release a brief statement after the prosecutor's announcement.

The alleged sexual assault was first reported to police on Dec. 7, 2012. The family has said the alleged victim did not know the identity of her attacker until early January. Police said last week that they tried to interview Winston in January but that Jansen at the time told them his client would not answer questions.

The family has been sharply critical of the way Tallahassee police have handled the case. They said they pushed to have a DNA sample taken from Winston, only to be told by a police detective that it would alert Winston and make the case public. The family said Carroll was warned by police that Tallahassee is a "big football town, and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable."

Tallahassee police have defended their handling of the case and said it was placed on inactive status in February after police were told the alleged victim did not wish to prosecute the case. Carroll has denied that the woman wanted to drop the investigation.

The alleged victim was an FSU student, but she left school last month.

Associated Press writer Kareem Copeland contributed to this story.

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serious wrote:
I don't know about the headline. Shouldn't it be alleged? Everyone else is a suspect until their court decision.
on December 5,2013 | 08:18AM
No, the headline reads, "acused rape". Not sure where you went to school but acused and alleged are basically synonomous with each other.
on December 5,2013 | 12:20PM
danji wrote:
ain a cover up of a high profile person getting away with a crime--be with pay-off ??? He admitted he had sex with the individual --but he's a athlete???????>
on December 5,2013 | 08:43AM
pgkemp wrote:
and a heisman to be.......
on December 5,2013 | 11:38AM
Here is the other angle-Potential Heisman-fame and fortune abound-Another greedy person looking to get a little cut of Winston's pie>
on December 5,2013 | 12:22PM
kong2985 wrote:
How will she benefit from this, unless Winston or FSU gives her money. Probably just swept under the rug. Winston should be denied the Heisman's Award, live and learn
on December 5,2013 | 05:01PM
HOSSANA wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, his image and character is tarnished and I definitely wouldn't vote for him. Unfortunately, in this present world, that means nothing in a dysfunction society devoid of values and therefore, this individual will probably win the Heisman by a landslide.
on December 5,2013 | 08:43AM
danji wrote:
OOPS. the heisman award has been tarnished so just give it to him.. He was in a shady incident and like Manziel who has police record.. The Heisman award is to an individual with super athletic abilities and a SPOTTLESS record as an individual.
on December 5,2013 | 08:46AM
serious wrote:
Look at Reggie Bush who had to give it back. Should we mention OJ? But that was way before. People have short memories. I thought a lot of Tiger Woods when, at one of his first press conversations he was addressed as an Afro American and he corrected the reporter and said, I am not, I am an American but later in his career, he proved he was an Afro American.
on December 5,2013 | 11:27AM
royalridge_2000 wrote:
What about some the idea she is some gold digger? Dont forget what happened to the Duke Lacrosse players a few years back!
on December 5,2013 | 09:49AM
True dat! The story didnt break for a year until, "oh, he's a heisman candidate and maybe I can scoop some money the easy way". Her story is just too shady to be true-I say GOLD DIGGER TOO!
on December 5,2013 | 12:28PM
Graham wrote:
Did anyone believe the case would prosecuted????
on December 5,2013 | 10:14AM
808comp wrote:
Be a star athlete, and you have heavy backers. If he did rape this girl and gets away with it, in time it will catch up to him.
on December 5,2013 | 12:21PM
islandsun wrote:
Why do these athletes keep repeating the same mistakes over & over again. Why put yourself out there like that? Now he will face a civil suit for sure because of money.
on December 5,2013 | 02:58PM
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