Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawsuit: FSU Violated Title IX Rights; Plaintiff Is Woman Who Accused Jameis Winston of Raping Her

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawsuit: FSU Violated Title IX Rights; Plaintiff Is Woman Who Accused Jameis Winston of Raping Her

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

On the same day Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston declared his intention to enter the NFL Draft, the woman who accused him of rape filed a federal lawsuit against FSU in the U.S. District Court in Orlando, saying that the university violated her Title IX rights with its response and investigation into her allegations.

The suit asks for a trial by jury. In the filing, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, the plaintiff said the response by the school was "clearly unreasonable" and created a "hostile education environment."

Florida State President John Thrasher was quick to criticize the merits of the suit but said the school's attorneys had not yet been served.

"Florida State University is disappointed to learn of this lawsuit," Thrasher said in a statement. "After a year of selective news leaks and distorted coverage, Florida State looks forward to addressing these meritless allegations in court. Evidence will show that through its confidential Victim Advocate Program, FSU did everything the plaintiff asked for and that the assertions FSU shirked its Title IX obligations are false."

Winston is not named in the lawsuit.

The accuser is named as "Jane Doe" in the suit. She said Winston raped her on Dec. 7, 2012, at his apartment. Winston has always maintained that the encounter was consensual.

State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to bring charges in November 2013, and retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding, overseeing an FSU code of conduct hearing on the matter last month, also said there was not enough evidence to result in sanctions by the school.

The woman accused FSU in the lawsuit of knowingly failing to comply with its own Title IX policies, which she said resulted in harassment that forced her to leave school.

"Had FSU ... complied with its own policies and federal law by promptly investigating plaintiff's rape and sanctioning Winston while protecting plaintiff's safety, Winston would have been removed as a threat to plaintiff long before ever suiting up to play football in a Seminoles jersey, and plaintiff would be on campus progressing toward an FSU degree," the suit stated. …

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