“FSU does not tolerate sexual assault. Even one sexual assault is a problem.”

That’s from the school’s official response to the New York Times article on the Winston investigation.

I can see how it’s a problem, alright.

… In January, Florida State conducted a sexual assault inquiry, in which two of Winston’s teammates were found to have violated the student code of conduct for their role in the incident.

But a lawyer for the woman who said she was raped by Winston said Thursday that he was informed the school suspended its investigation, at least in part, because of Winston’s unwillingness to cooperate. As a result, Baine Kerr, a high-profile Title IX attorney representing the woman, told USA TODAY Sports he wrote a letter to FSU earlier this month stating his objections to their investigation and calling for Winston to be charged under the school’s code of conduct policy.

“The university took the position that since he refused to respond to questions, they could not make any Title IX findings,” Kerr said. “We have objected to that as impermissible reason to delay or terminate a Title IX sexual assault investigation because that would permit any charged party to thwart an investigation simply by refusing to answer questions.”

Well, you know, Winston’s been busy and all, with baseball and spring practice, so he probably just couldn’t find the time for him and his attorney to sit down with the school and put the matter to rest.  And if FSU can’t sit down with its star, it’s not unreasonable to throw in the towel on the investigation, is it?

Experts say Winston declining to answer questions is not sufficient to absolve the school of its responsibilities to investigate sexual assaults, which are considered a form of sexual harassment under Title IX. They suggested although it would be possible for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to intervene in the adjudication of a case, it would be unlikely.

“The law is not supposed to operate in a way to reward people who don’t cooperate with either criminal or civil investigations,” said Erin Buzuvis, a professor of law at Western New England University and a Title IX expert. “It’s just bizarre to think that would result in, ‘Oh, I guess we just can’t do anything.’ Who would ever cooperate with anything?”

The reality is that Winston’s attorney has advised his client not to cooperate.  Given the way things have been handled to date, that looks like good advice.  But it doesn’t excuse FSU’s pathetic response.

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13 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

13 responses to ““FSU does not tolerate sexual assault. Even one sexual assault is a problem.”

  1. Spike

    The more one stirs this, the more it stinks. Stay tuned…

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    If you read the link, the charge is one of those elastic sexual assault concepts that heavily favor women. Doesn’t excuse FSU’s investigation but I’d tell my client to do the same.

    • Cousin Eddie

      But can the school say “co-operate or we will not allow you participate” as a means to force his hand? That is assuming they want real answers.

    • Krautdawg

      Almost any university code of conduct investigation favors the accuser, male or female, regardless of the charge, because there’s no due process, no formal rules of evidence, no right to cross-examine, no right to remain silent and usually a panel made of university employees making decisions (think, e.g. the librarian). It’s a horrendous process.

      Generally, if you refuse to participate, the panel can infer from your silence that you’ve done what you’ve been accused of doing. (Like I said, there’s no real right to remain silent.) Point is, the investigation keeps going & usually ends in sanctions against the accused. Don’t think I’ve ever heard a university panel say “Well, shucks, he just won’t talk to us!”

  3. I Wanna Red Cup

    Will Emmert come to the rescue and pull a PSU penalty out of his ass? Or will he move to protect the “student- athlete Winston ?

  4. JeffDawg

    Sensing the impending storm around this issue, this could be a reason that Pruitt decided it was high time to get out of Tallahassee

  5. Dog in Fla

    Shorter FSU response to NYT unprovoked attack on the Seminoles:

    “It’s not like he killed anybody.”

  6. Peteydawg

    It was off campus and the university wasn’t even alerted until way after

  7. Skeeter

    Is the ability to rape, steal, drink and smoke weed with no legal repercussions considered an ‘improper benefit’?