The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

December 5, 2013

No charges for Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — 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 Thursday.

State Attorney Willie Meggs made the announcement at a news conference, saying the woman's memory lapses of the events last December were problematic and there was not enough evidence to win a conviction. The woman told police she had been drinking at a bar with friends before the alleged assault took place at an off-campus apartment.

"It's not inconsistencies, it's lack of memory most of the time," Meggs said of the woman's allegations.

Winston, 19, has led the Seminoles to a No. 1 ranking and a shot at a national championship if they defeat Duke on Saturday in the ACC championship game. As for the Heisman, many voters were waiting to see whether he would be charged before the deadline for ballots Monday. The trophy for the nation's top player will be awarded Dec. 14.

Meanwhile, the woman's family has been sharply critical of the Tallahassee Police Department, accusing the agency of delaying the investigation and discouraging her from going forward with the case because of the public attention it would receive.

"The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting," according to a statement from the accuser and her family.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

The alleged assault was reported to police Dec. 7, 2012, but it wasn't until last month before the public had any idea Winston was involved in a sexual assault investigation. Only Thursday did specific details of the woman's accusations began to emerge.

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