What is the Powder Room?
What is the Powder Room?

Report: FSU, TPD Hindered Jameis Winston Investigation (UPDATED)

Illustration for article titled Report: FSU, TPD Hindered Jameis Winston Investigation (UPDATED)

In News That Will Shock Nobody But Will Never Stop Being Appalling, FOX Sports' Kevin Vaughn reports that Tallahassee Police Department reports on the alleged rape were given to Tim Jansen, either by TPD or the university. According to Vaughn, TPD gave case files to the University in November 2013, once they learned that there was media snooping around the case:

FOX Sports has also learned that the Tallahassee police forwarded reports to the Florida State police chief. He then forwarded them to a high-ranking administrator in the university's athletics department.

Reports then ended up in the hands of Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen. Jansen was able to question two key witnesses in the case before the state attorney was even notified of the allegation against Winston and launched his own investigation.


In addition, campus police actively hampered attempts by reporters to investigate the investigation, or lack of it:

It also uncovered evidence that campus police officials ran interference against reporters, attempting at one point to suggest there was no investigation of Winston. And that those same police officials were a key part of the university's public relations campaign in the days after the story exploded.


If the story is materially true (and FOX Sports seems to have done its research here), it's just more evidence that the Jameis Winston investigation was not just handled incompetently, but that there was a conscious and coordinated effort to prevent any attempt to find out the truth about what happened that night. We all know that big-time recruits and star quarterbacks (of which Winston was both) get special treatment, but there seems to be a special level of arrogance around the flagrant attempts by both the university and PD to harangue, slander, and discredit a woman that was very likely to be telling the truth, all in service of keeping the gravy train rolling.

I'm no legal scholar, so I don't know the legality of withholding evidence, releasing evidence to interested parties, and hindering potential prosecutions, but there needs to be a serious, independent investigation into the actions of both the university (to go along with its pending Title IX investigation) and police department. One would hope that such an obvious miscarriage of justice would inspire some change. Based on the history of forever, though, I'm not particularly hopeful. FOX Sports promises more to come, so this will be updated as more details are released.


UPDATE (6:34 ET):

So basically, FSU's campus police force lied to reporters. In addition, Tallahassee PD, FSU's campus police, or FSU's administration officials (or, likely, all three) did everything in their power to help out Jameis Winston's defense before letting the state prosecutor know that he had even been accused of sexual assault:

Among the findings:

— The university's police chief obtained original police reports as well as supplemental reports from Tallahassee police on Nov. 8, 2013, at least four days before the case was turned over to Meggs, the local prosecutor responsible for investigating serious crimes and filing criminal charges.

— The university's police chief forwarded the reports to a high-ranking administrator in the Florida State athletic department, and within days they ultimately wound up in the hands of Winston's defense attorney — also before Meggs was notified of the case and launched his own investigation.

— Two critical witnesses — Florida State football players who said they were present the morning of the alleged assault — discussed the case with Winston's lawyer and ultimately signed affidavits at his behest backing the quarterback's version of the incident. That happened before law enforcement officers tried to talk to them about what they saw and remembered, a dramatic road block in the state attorney's effort to determine whether Winston should be charged with rape.

— That same high-ranking administrator in the athletic department sought information from the university's police chief about a reporter seeking the reports on the allegations against Winston.

— The second-highest ranking officer in the campus police department ran interference with another reporter seeking information about the allegations, terming them a "rumor" that he was glad he could "dispel."

— Both of those police officials were involved in updating Florida State administrators on the case and helping formulate the school's public relations response in the first days after the explosive story became public.


It wasn't even until after Winston's DNA was found on the accuser's underwear that his attorney even admitted that Winston knew the accuser. The university still didn't interview Winston until January 2014, a year later.

More evidence that the University prioritized football over the safety of women:

"The first time anyone at FSU outside the campus police and Victim Advocate Program learned about the alleged sexual assault was in January 2013, when a Tallahassee PD detective called the athlete on his cellphone," the school's letter said, in part. "The athlete immediately notified the Athletics Department, where officials referred him and his family to a Tallahassee attorney."

The school's letter also said that athletics department officials failed to notify the school's Title IX coordinator.


UPDATE (6:56pm):

Tallahassee PD knew to keep track of the important details:

[A]t 12:44 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2013, Tallahassee police detective Scott Angulo, the lead investigator on the case, sent a memo to his boss detailing his discussion with the woman. He listed Winston's name, birthday, and the fact that he was African American. He also wrote something else: "Winston is a FSU football player."


They also made sure that the University, and by extension Jameis Winston's attorney, had all the help they needed:

Then, on Nov. 8, 2013, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times contacted Tallahassee police and requested copies of reports of the alleged rape involving Winston.

The first move by Tallahassee police? A records clerk, acting at the behest of the department's spokesman, forwarded the reports to David Perry, chief of the Florida State University Police Department. That occurred at 3:41 p.m., according to an e-mail obtained by FOX Sports[...]

Over the next 3 1/2 hours, Perry and the records clerk exchanged two e-mails, which FOX Sports obtained. In the first, the campus police chief sought information about the reporter who had asked for the records.


The Seminoles head coach, Jimbo Fisher, may have known about the investigation before the state prosecutor:

[FSU senior associate athletic director for internal operations Monk] Bonasorte responded to Perry: "You will let me know when [the police report] gets released? I will talk to Jimbo, if released or not ... Is Tpd legal trying to block it?"

That e-mail was sent at 11:34 a.m. and refers to Florida State's head football coach, Jimbo Fisher. It is not clear from the e-mail when – or if – Bonasorte told Fisher that a reporter was trying to get the reports on Winston.

By that time, roughly 20 hours had passed since Tallahassee police first forwarded the reports to the campus police chief.

Sometime over the next two days that report made its way to Jansen, Winston's lawyer.

On Nov. 12, Jansen called Patricia Carroll, an attorney and family friend who was advising the woman who accused Winston of rape, and left a message. They would not talk until the next day, but Carroll suspected from the message that Jansen already had a copy of the police report, and she expressed that fear in a call to a Tallahassee police sergeant that day.


The time between when Tallahassee PD tipped off FSU officials and when they informed the state attorney's office? Four days. I'm still sifting through this report, but check out the amazing and thorough reporting of FOX Sports' Kevin Vaughn.

UPDATE (7:00pm):

Jansen made sure he got his homework done before the state came calling:

Jansen acknowledged to Carroll that he had the police reports. According to her, Jansen said he got them from "a guy" he knew when she demanded to know how it was that he had the reports of an open criminal investigation.

Also on Nov. 13, Jansen sat down with Winston's roommate, Casher, and another Florida State teammate, Ronald Darby. Both swore out nearly identical statements for a notary in which they asserted that they had seen a portion of the sexual encounter between Winston and the woman and it appeared consensual. The notary was hired by Jansen.


Unsurprisingly, this made pursuing the case much more difficult:

"Tim Jansen knew more about the so-called investigation than we did," [State Attorney Willie] Meggs said. "He's telling me things and asking me questions about things only I ought to know.

"It does handicap a case."

And Florida State University, whose primary mission is to educate young people and send them into the world as better, more complete and better-rounded human beings, knew what needed to be done:

The next day, Nov. 15, 2013, Jeanette M. DeDiemar, associate vice president for integrated marketing and communications, summoned a number of people to a meeting to discuss the case.

Among those asked to be there were FSU campus police chief Perry and deputy chief Russell; Mary Coburn, the vice president for student affairs, and her husband, David Coburn, a college roommate of then-FSU President Eric Barron and a principal in the legislative consulting firm Capital Analytics; Carolyn Egan, general counsel to the university; Bonasorte; and media and communications specialists from both the athletic department and the administration.

The agenda was simple: "Get around the table to 1) be brought up to date regarding case and 2) review media relations, social media and communications needs for the next 72 hours."


UPDATE (7:30pm):

Florida State has released their own timeline of events. The attorneys for the accuser have responded. Jameis Winston will start for the Seminoles at Syracuse on Saturday.


Image via USATSI.

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