The accuser initially reported the alleged rape to FSU police on the night in question. Because the incident took place off campus, FSU police immediately referred the case to Tallahassee police.
The woman's attorney has been critical of the way Tallahassee police handled the case from the beginning. In a statement released two weeks ago, Carroll wrote that a TPD officer told her that Tallahassee is a "big football town, and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against [Winston] because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable."
Last week, Tallahassee police issued a timeline of the case and defended their handling of the investigation. According to the timeline, TPD said the woman didn't identify Winston as her alleged attacker until Jan. 10, more than a month after the incident. Tallahassee police said evidence from the woman's rape kit was sent to the state crime lab on Jan. 15, and Winston declined to be interviewed by police on Jan. 23.
In February, Tallahassee police put the case in "open/inactive" status because they said the accuser decided she didn't wish to press charges. Carroll has vehemently denied the woman ever wanted to drop the investigation.
As for the delay in the case reaching the state attorney's office, Meggs said: "Obviously it would have been somewhat better if we had all gotten into this case a little bit earlier. Time is important and it certainly would have been nice" to know last December what prosecutors know now.
Meggs said that football discussions played no part in the investigation.
Winston, who has passed for 3,490 yards with 38 touchdowns and five interceptions in his first season as a starter, might become the second consecutive freshman to win the Heisman. Last season, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win college football's most coveted individual honor. Many Heisman voters were waiting to learn the results of the criminal investigation before casting their ballots. The deadline for ballots to be turned in is Monday.
Without referencing Winston, Florida State president Dr. Eric Barron issued a statement saying the school's job is to educate but that it also has a "responsibility to treat students fairly and provide appropriate support."
"Recent weeks have provided a painful lesson, as we have witnessed harmful speculation and inappropriate conjecture about this situation and the individuals involved," the statement said. "As a result, we have all been hurt. A respect for the principle of due process is essential to the integrity of our community. Our commitment to each and every one of our students is unwavering and will remain our priority."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.