The woman who accused Florida State's Jameis Winston of sexual assault plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Heisman-winning quarterback and the Tallahassee Police Department in the near future, according to her attorney.
Updates from Saturday, Feb. 15
FOX Sports' Kevin Vaughan reports that Winston's accuser has taken the next step:
Two Colorado attorneys who have handled ground-breaking federal lawsuits in sexual assault cases involving athletes have been retained by the woman who alleged she was raped by Florida State's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, FOX Sports has learned.
Attorney John Clune confirmed to FOX Sports that he and one of his law partners, Baine Kerr, have agreed to work with Patricia Carroll, a Florida lawyer representing the woman who accused Winston of raping her at an off-campus apartment in December 2012.
Pat Carroll, the attorney for the unidentified woman, spoke with ABC News in an exclusive interview, accusing the police department of negligence and continuing to assert Winston raped her client.
"I want heads to roll," Carroll said, per ABC News' Matt Gutman and Alyssa Newcomb.
No suit has been filed in federal court as of Jan. 8. Carroll did not indicate when the accuser and her family would file paperwork, as it seems the parties are still deciding whether to include Florida State University as a defendant.
“The family is proceeding, with civil action against the TPD and Jameis Winston. And possibly the university," said Carroll.
The public comments come on the heels of Winston leading the Seminoles to a 34-31 victory over the Auburn Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6. Winston led the game-winning drive, capping off a season in which he became the second freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Carroll alleges that authorities have warned her client not to return to school or risk bodily harm.
"I inquired if…if she could return to FSU and they told me absolutely not," Carroll said. "They too had the impression she would be in physical danger."
The alleged incident, which took place in December 2012, cast a shadow over Winston's season and arguably cost him votes in the Heisman race. Although he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the state attorney Willie Meggs early last month, Winston has only indirectly alluded to the sexual assault investigation in public comments.
In the ABC segment, Carroll paints the clearest picture from the accuser's eyes yet. The woman, a Florida State student, alleges that Winston forced her to have sex at an off-campus apartment complex despite her pleas to stop. A friend of the accuser claims to have witnessed what happened, and said Winston ignored both his roommate's and the woman's requests.
Winston's representation has maintained that the two engaged in consensual intercourse. In a December press conference explaining his department's decision to not prosecute Winston, Meggs claimed there was not enough evidence to support the claims.
"We have a duty as prosecutors to determine if each case has a reasonable likelihood of conviction," Meggs said, per Mark Schlabach of ESPN. "After reviewing the facts in this case, we do not feel that we can reach those burdens."
Meggs has come under fire for his actions at the press conference, which at times felt far too jovial for such a serious matter. Meggs at different points laughed and told jokes to media, causing many to criticize the department as being tone deaf. ESPN's Sam Ponder was one of many who felt uncomfortable watching the presser:
Anyone else uncomfortable with the amount of smiling/laughter in this press conference?— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) December 5, 2013
Carroll claims the police department's handling of the case led to criminal charges not being filed. Despite the fact that the accuser initially reported the incident on Dec. 7, 2012, an investigation was not formally launched until this past November. A DNA sample taken from Winston matched the one found on the accuser's person, but the quarterback and his attorney have maintained innocence.
Neither Winston nor the Tallahassee Police Department have commented at this time.
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