The New York Times says there was “virtually no investigation” by Tallahassee police or school officials after Jameis Winston, a Florida State University quarterback, was accused of raping a woman in December 2012. The police did not follow the obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter. After the accuser identified Winston as her assailant, the police did not even attempt to interview him for nearly two weeks and never obtained his DNA.
The detective handling the case waited two months to write his first report and then prematurely suspended his inquiry without informing the accuser. By the time the prosecutor got the case, important evidence had disappeared, including the video of the sexual act. “They just missed all the basic fundamental stuff that you are supposed to do,” said prosecutor William Meggs. Even so, he cautioned, a better investigation might have yielded the same result. The case has unfolded as colleges and universities across the country are facing rising criticism over how they deal with sexual assault, as well as questions about whether athletes sometimes receive preferential treatment.