CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

With no charges filed against Jameis Winston, the show goes on

Justice may or may not have been served. But Florida State can pursue its BCS title chase, and his Heisman Trophy chances are no longer imperiled.

 

The full story involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston might not be known for months. It might not ever fully be known.

A report released Thursday by the Tallahassee Police Department was graphic, disturbing and contradictory. It was filled with laboratory analysis, statements by the alleged victim and countering affidavits from Winston's teammates.

Accusations have been made and civil suits have been threatened.

An alleged victim says she was raped by Winston on Dec. 7, 2012, at his apartment, long before anyone knew he would become this year's favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Winston said the sex was consensual. There was alcohol involved, but how much? Did it impair behavior and recollections?

The police department closed the matter early last year and did not pass it along to the state attorney until Nov. 13.

Willie Meggs, the state attorney, said it would have helped to have the case earlier, but he did not cast aspersions on the police department's motives. "That's something others have to decide," Meggs said.

In the end, Meggs determined there was not enough evidence to reasonably expect a conviction. "We did not feel we could meet that burden," he said.

Meggs did not exonerate Winston and said of the woman, "Very little can be profited by disparaging the victim in this case."

Meggs also said, "She can't remember some things, and that's a problem."

Tim Jansen, Winston's lawyer, celebrated the decision that allowed Winston to board the Florida State team plane en route to Charlotte for Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference title game against Duke.

"He did nothing that was improper," Jansen said of Winston. "…this was a consensual encounter. We believed it then, we believe it now."

Winston released a statement that read in part, "It's been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I'm very relieved I'll be able to continue my education at Florida State and I'm excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals."

The alleged victim's attorney had a different take on the announcement.

"The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting."

So, in lieu of new evidence or a confession, we can get back to football. This story about Jameis Winston, for now, is over.

Case closed? "Yes it is," Meggs said.

Winston, had he been charged with a felony, would immediately have been ruled ineligible by Florida State and his Heisman chances would have been gravely imperiled.

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