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TPD Addresses Winston Rape Probe, Says Investigation Was 'Never Closed'

Jameis Winston

The Tallahassee Police Department is pushing back against allegations it has mishandled a rape investigation involving Florida State University Quarterback Jameis Winston.

The incident happened in December 2012, but is just now coming to light—raising concerns about the way the police department has handled the case.

Tallahassee Police Chief Tom Coe says despite media reports, the case involving FSU’s Winston was never closed. That contradicts statements made by Winston's attorney Tim Jansen, who says he was told otherwise.

Coe also pushed back against statements from the victim’s attorney, who says her client was told not to pursue the case by a TPD investigator because Tallahassee is a football town, and the victim’s life would be made miserable. Coe would not address those allegations directly, but gave a brief timeline of the department’s investigation:

“On December 7, 2012 the Tallahassee Police Department  responded to a call by the Florida State University Police Department about an alleged sexual battery," he told reporters Wednesday night during an impromptu press conference. " In February 2013, the case was classified as ‘open, but inactive,’ and the victim in the case broke off contact with TPD, and her attorney indicated she did not want to move forward at that time.”

Coe's statement came around the time DNA evidence linking Winston to the case was leaked. However, that alone does not indicate a crime, and TPD officials say their investigation is ongoing. The case has caught national attention, as Winston is a front-runner for the Heisman award, and FSU is in contention for a shot at a national championship.

The case is now in the hands of the Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.

According to CBSSports.com, "Assistant state attorney Georgia Cappleman said her 2nd Judicial Circuit office received a copy of the statement from the victim's family alleging Tallahassee Police dissuaded the victim's attorney from pursuing the case. The family's attorney notified the State Attorney of the family's plans to release the anonymous statement, which was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times."

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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