The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Jameis Winston’s accuser files federal lawsuit against Florida State, alleging Title IX violations

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her in December 2012 has filed a federal civil lawsuit against the university, alleging that the school violated her Title IX rights by not properly investigating the incident.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando on Wednesday and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages “including but not limited to reimbursement and payment for her education expenses; payment of expenses incurred as a result of the sexual assault; damages for emotional pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and lost future earnings. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief requiring FSU to comply with federal law under Title IX law, court costs and attorney fees and any other relief the court sees fit,” the Sentinel reports.

“The lawsuit alleges the university violated two counts of Title IX federal statutes, providing a ‘clearly unreasonable response’ and creating a ‘hostile education environment,’ ” forcing the woman identified as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit to leave school, Brendan Sonnone of the Sentinel writes.

Florida State has yet to issue a comment on the lawsuit, according to the Sentinel.

According to the lawsuit, Winston’s accuser reported the alleged crime to Florida State police immediately after the incident and the case was turned over to the Tallahassee Police Department. The accuser identified Winston as her assailant one month after the incident, but she alleges in the lawsuit that the school conspired with Tallahassee police to hinder the investigation “so that Winston’s FSU football career would be unaffected.”

The police investigation first came to light in November 2013, and the Tallahassee police have since come under fire for their handling of the investigation. Per the Sentinel, Winston’s accuser said her identity was revealed online, leading to death threats. She dropped out of school on Nov. 13, 2013.

“FSU became a sexually hostile environment where her rapist roamed free and could turn up at any moment, where she became the target of death threats and vilification campaigns,” the complaint states, according to the Sentinel.

Winston was never charged with a crime and maintains that the sex was consensual. After an investigation, a retired Florida Supreme Court justice announced last month that Florida State did not have enough evidence to punish Winston under the school’s code of conduct.

Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, announced Wednesday he would forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft, where he is expected to be a top pick. Winston helped lead the Seminoles to the 2013 BCS title.