Jameis Winston Accuser's Civil Suit Against FSU Alleges a Second Rape

A Title IX civil suit filed against FSU by Jameis Winston's accuser includes an allegation that Winston has committed at least two rapes.

by Jessica Luther
Jan 7 2015, 10:05pm

Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A federal Title IX lawsuit filed Wednesday by the woman who accused Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her in December 2012 claims that a second woman told a victim's advocate in 2013 that she also had been raped by Winston.

Filed on the same day that Winston announced he intends to leave FSU and enter the upcoming National Football League draft, the lawsuit alleges that high-ranking school athletic department officials deliberately concealed sexual misconduct allegations against the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner in order to "protect the football program," a violation of federal law.

Read More: The Jameis Winston Conduct Hearing Transcript

The suit also states that on October 25, 2013, Winston's accuser was informed by her victim's advocate that a second woman had "come forward and reported being raped by Winston."

"The advocate asked if Plaintiff would cooperate with and participate in disciplinary proceedings against Winston," the suit reads. "Plaintiff stated that she absolutely would do so."

The claim that the second woman had reported being raped by Winston is more specific than a previous claim made by the Title IX lawyer for Winston's accuser, John Clune, who in September of last year released a statement that said the second woman reported "sexual misconduct."

In April 2014, an extensive New York Times investigative report on the Winston case mentioned the second woman's allegations and stated "the woman did not call it rape."

Following a two-day FSU disciplinary hearing held last December, a retired Florida state Supreme Court judge found that there was not enough evidence to prove that Winston had violated the school's student conduct code.

Transcripts of the hearing obtained by VICE Sports revealed that the judge, Major Harding, and other participants were often confused about proper procedure and that Winston and his accuser told very different stories about the alleged sexual assaults the events surrounding it, with the woman claiming that she was held down and raped despite telling Winston to stop, and Winston claiming their sexual encounter was consensual.

When Harding asked Winston how the woman had given physical and verbal consent, Winston replied "moaning."

In her Title IX lawsuit, the woman identified as "Jane Doe" not only recounts the night in question from her perspective but she also goes into detail about the ways in which the university failed to uphold Title IX, thus violating federal law and her civil rights. She says pointedly that head coach Jimbo Fisher and athletic director Frances Bonasorte among other "high-ranking FSU Athletic Department football officials" led a "deliberate concealment of student-on-student sexual harassment to protect the football program" which "deprived Plaintiff of her rights under Title IX and caused substantial damages."

This meant that "for the next eleven months, FSU did nothing to investigate Plaintiff's report of rape while the FSU Athletics Department continued to the keep the incident a secret."

The complaint holds no punches when it comes to what FSU officials chose not to do in this case: "Despite being on notice that two women had reported being raped by Winston, on November 12, 2013, FSU Dean of Students Jeanine Ward-Roof ("Ward-Roof"), who supervised Code of Conduct proceedings at FSU, emailed Chief Perry and others at FSU stating that no disciplinary proceedings against Winston were going to take place. Soon thereafter, the rape investigation against Winston was leaked and reported to the media."

Doe also repeatedly notes the price that she has paid since FSU failed to respond to her report in a timely manner: "FSU became a sexually hostile environment where her rapist roamed free and could turn up at any moment, where she became the target of death threats and vilification campaigns, and where her rapist could act with such impunity that he posted a video of himself boasting of rape and stood shouting obscene sexual acts." And once the media got a hold of the story, Doe "was relentlessly vilified and threatened on the Internet and in FSU football-friendly quarters, and her and her family's personal and work addresses were published on the Internet, along with false slurs on Plaintiff's character and threats on her life. Fearing for her safety, Plaintiff left FSU's campus on November 14, 2013. Still, FSU made no investigation into its starting quarterback." She says that it took "months of persistence" on her part and only then did "FSU finally investigation that consisted of interviewing Plaintiff and her parents and making another interview request to Winston, who again refused to answer any questions. No other witnesses were contacted." The hearing that came after the investigation resulted in no punishment for Winston.

At the end of the complaint, Doe summarizes why she believes she "was subjected to the discrimination" that resulted from "FSU's deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment, sexual violence, discrimination and retaliation." These reasons include:

FSU's deliberate decision not to investigate and address Winston's rape of Plaintiff for close to two years so that Winston's college football career would be unaffected;

The deliberate decisions of the FSU Police, FSU Athletics Department and other FSU officials - all of whom had authority to take corrective action under Title IX - not to report the rape to FSU's Title IX Coordinator and SRR Office so that Winston's college football career would be unaffected;

FSU's deliberate decision to hinder the Tallahassee Police and university investigations of Plaintiff's rape so that Winston's FSU football career would be unaffected;

FSU's deliberate decisions not to comply with its own policies on Sexual Misconduct, Title IX and sexual harassment;

FSU's deliberate decisions to do nothing to eliminate the sexual assault risk posed by Winston, prevent its recurrence and address its effects, so that Winston's football career would be unaffected.

Doe is asking that Florida State be forced by the courts to award her damages that include "reimbursement and prepayment for all of Plaintiff's tuition and related expenses; payment of [Doe's] expenses incurred as a consequence of the sexual assault; damages for deprivation of equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities provided by FSU; and damages for past, present and future emotional pain and suffering, ongoing and severe mental anguish, loss of past, present and future enjoyment of life, and past and present lost earnings and earning capacity."

She is requesting a jury trial. Jameis Winston's attorney, David Cornwell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Winston Complaint