The NCAA is in hot water again. Star Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is awaiting possible rape charges for his role in an alleged sexual assault taking place in December of 2012. Winston is a Heisman candidate this year, and if he is to win this trophy and be subsequently charged, the NCAA will take yet another PR hit. They are probably hoping to delay any charges from being pressed until after the National Championship game.
Since this alleged assault took place one year ago, why are charges just now being filed? The answer lies with the police department. They claim the alleged victim declined to press charges and set the case on inactive status. Only when reports of the story were leaked to the press did the police department hand over the relevant information to the prosecuting attorney (in November). The victim's attorney meanwhile has flat out denied this, stating that police department’s claim that the victim did not want to press charges is bogus.
It turns out the police department never interviewed Winston.
Two other reports on Winston have been released, detailing run-ins with police. One of these incidents involved a bb-gun fight where 13 windows of the apartment complex Winston was staying in were broken. The complex's owner wanted to evict the players involved with the fight, but agreed not to after Florida State said the player would pay for the damages.
The second incident involved the stealing of soda from a Burger King restaurant. At first glance this sounds petty, but when a (female) employee asked Winston to stop, he refused and continued to take the soda. More details are at the following link:
This story reminded me of another case that became public last year. The University of Missouri’s star point guard Michael Dixon did not start the season and everyone was curious why. News of an alleged sexual assault leaked out later on. The police report from this case is linked here (warning, graphic language).
The student conduct committee ended up voting to expel Dixon from the University of Missouri. Initially Dixon appealed this decision, but quietly left the school after reports of a second alleged rape reached the media. This incident had occurred a couple years prior. The police report from this case is linked here (warning, graphic language):
The victim in this second (earlier) case ended up not pressing charges, citing fear for her safety. No charges were filed in the first (most recent) case; lack of evidence was the reason cited.
In addition to these two allegations there were rumors on campus of "creepiness", as well as reports of Dixon getting thrown out of frat parties for sexual assault.
During his time at the University of Missouri, Dixon was suspended a least one time for academic dishonesty. In spite of all these issues, the decision by the student conduct committee to expel Dixon was only 3-2.
In a perverse twist, the NCAA granted Dixon a "hardship" waiver and he is now playing for the Memphis Tigers on a full scholarship. Given the copious amounts of circumstantial evidence (and physical evidence in the case of the earlier allegation), the chance that Michael Dixon is innocent is virtually zero. Three or more women with no ties to one another accuse a person of sexual assault and that person is likely a serial sex offender.
Dixon was not interviewed by the police in any of these cases. Neither was Winston. Is the status of these athletes a deterrence for police? To me it would seem criminal for the police to not even interview the accused…