FSU investigating Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

Florida State has begun conducting a required investigation into Jameis Winston in relation to 2012 accusations of rape by a female student despite the state's declining to charge the quarterback in the matter.

An attorney representing Winston's accuser says FSU is following through with its Title IX investigation and that school officials interviewed the woman for the first time in early August. She initially reported the alleged rape to police in December 2012.

It was a development Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said wouldn't serve as a distraction for the top-ranked football team.

"No, this team moves on," Fisher said Thursday. "I have no idea how that'll go, what it's about. That's for other people to find out. We're just here playing ball."

John Clune, the woman's attorney, said in interviews with USA Today and ESPN.com that they were surprised by the timing of the investigation but that it was what the school was "required to do all along."

Clune said an Aug. 7 interview between his client and the school "went pretty well."

"I think it was a positive experience, and everyone felt like the university was taking it very seriously," Clune told USA Today.

The school also interviewed two other people, Clune said, but the attorney does not know whether Winston was interviewed.

"I'm confident that they told us it's going to be more than window dressing," Clune said. "That's about the best I can say. Time will tell."

Fisher said he had been kept in the loop and abreast of the situation.

"We're just going to coach ball just like we are," Fisher said when asked whether the team was prepared in the event Winston was found responsible and missed time.

Title IX mandates schools investigate and adjudicate sexual harassment and violence cases separate of any criminal investigation, and says schools should not wait for any criminal investigation to conclude.

The state attorney's office began investigating Winston in November 2013, but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence.

Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, whose office declined to pursue criminal charges against Winston in December, said he wasn't aware of any new evidence in the case.

"My understanding is what they're looking at is much different from what we were looking at," Meggs said. "The standards for criminal charges and student conduct are different animals."

Meggs did say he was surprised FSU officials took so long to investigate the woman's claims.

In a statement, Winston family adviser David Cornwell reasserted that Winston did not sexually assault the accuser.

"The real story here is that after her Colorado attorneys created a media frenzy alleging that Florida State University failed to comply with its Title IX obligations, [the accuser] had to come clean and admit that she previously refused to cooperate with the university's Title IX inquiry," Cornwell said in the statement. "Now that she has finally done her Title IX interview, this is the fourth time [the accuser] has told her story.

"We anticipate the same conclusion that followed her previous three statements to the Tallahassee Police Department, Florida's State Attorney's Office and in the FSU Code of Student Conduct hearing."

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