Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston cleared by school panel of sexual assault
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) – Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into charges that he sexually assaulted a female student two years ago, according to documents released to Reuters on Sunday.
There was insufficient evidence to charge the 20-year-old sophomore, one of the top U.S. college football players last year after winning the Heisman Trophy, with a violation, concluded retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding, who was retained by the university to oversee the conduct hearing.
“In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charged violations of the Code,” Harding wrote in his five-page recommendations to the university.
Winston was not charged criminally in the December 2012 incident, which he has maintained was consensual.
Attorney John Clune of Boulder, Co., representing the accuser, said he was “stunned and dismayed by the order.”
Harding declined Sunday evening to discuss his findings, citing confidentiality of student disciplinary procedures. The documents indicate that his recommendations were submitted to the university on Friday.
Florida State President John Thrasher said in a statement that the hearing included a review of more than 1,000 pages of evidence from numerous investigations into the incident.
“Moving forward, we remain committed to the principle of due process and our highest priority will continue to be the safety and well-being of all our students,” Thrasher said.
Winston did not answer questions during the disciplinary hearing but submitted a lengthy statement in which he provided a graphic account of having sex with the woman in his apartment after they met at a bar near the campus.
Clune has said his client testified at the hearing and answered Harding’s questions about her encounter with Winston.
(Reporting by Bill Cotterell; Writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Eric Walsh and Christian Plumb)