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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Report: Second woman ‘sought counseling’ after sexual encounter with Jameis Winston

Jameis WinstonThe New York Times released a lengthy report on Wednesday that dives deeper into the Jameis Winston sexual assault investigation. In short, it gives us a better understanding of what a poor job the Tallahassee Police Department did when Winston’s accuser first came forward.

No one really knows if Winston is guilty or innocent. What we do know is that it was determined there was not enough evidence to file a charge against the Florida State star. You can thank the TPD’s incompetence for that. We’ll get into that later, but let’s first look at a second woman who claimed she had a disturbing sexual encounter with Winston.

According to the Times, prosecutors said a second woman “sought counseling” after having a sexual encounter with Winston about a month before the rape accusation went public.

But the encounter, not previously reported, “was of such a nature that she felt violated or felt that she needed to seek some type of counseling for her emotions about the experience,” according to Georgia Cappleman, the chief assistant state attorney, who said she had spoken with the advocate but not with the woman.

The victim advocate was concerned enough about the episode to have alerted Mr. Winston’s first accuser.

Ms. Cappleman said that based on what she was told, a crime had not been committed. Nonetheless, Ms. Cappleman said she found the encounter troubling, because it “sheds some light on the way Mr. Winston operates” and on what may be “a recurring problem rather than some type of misunderstanding that occurred in an isolated situation.”

While the woman said the sex was consensual, Tallahassee police should have looked into the situation given the nature of the case. They also should have taken a DNA sample from Winston, which they did not. They should have identified the cab driver of the accuser who went home with Winston, but they did not. They should have moved more quickly to obtain video footage from Potbelly’s (the bar Winston was allegedly in on the night of the encounter). They didn’t do that either.

“The case was not properly investigated from the start,” Florida State attorney Williams Meggs said. “There were so many things that needed to be done that did not get done. I am convinced that we could have identified the cab driver that night. I am also convinced that if it had been done correctly we could have had the video from Potbelly’s.”

When investigators did finally contact Winston, they did so by phone. He promptly told them he would not be doing any talking without his lawyer present.

“I’m convinced that, if done properly, we would have gotten an interview with Winston,” Meggs said. “It’s insane to call a suspect on the phone. You don’t call someone on the phone and have any level of control.”

We already knew the accuser claimed she was warned by police about pressing charges because of the high-profile nature of the case. That information combined with the new info from the Times report shows just how badly they botched the case. Winston may be innocent and he may be guilty. Because of the incompetence of the Tallahassee Police Department, we will never know.



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