Jameis Winston's Rape Accuser Documents Experience in 'The Hunting Ground'

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2015

In this Jan. 1, 2015 file photo, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston passes against Oregon during the first half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal, in Pasadena, Calif. Winston declared himself eligible for the NFL draft Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015,  the same day the woman who accused him of rape filed a lawsuit against the university saying it failed to properly investigate her allegations.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault in December 2012, is finally telling her story.     

Kinsman is one of the subjects of The Hunting Ground, a documentary that premiered at this week's Sundance Film Festival. The film covers the ongoing sexual assault problems at college campuses and will premiere later this year on CNN, according to Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast.

Kinsman first filed a report of an alleged sexual assault on Dec. 7, 2012. As has been recounted many times during the investigation, she and Winston, then a freshman, met at a bar before going back to Winston's apartment, where he was accused of forcing himself on Kinsman despite pleas to stop. 

Nearly a year after the case was initially opened, Tallahassee prosecutors declined to press charges on Winston, citing a lack of evidence. The investigation drew national coverage because of Winston's high profile—he was on his way to leading Florida State to a national championship and became the second freshman to win the Heisman Trophy—and the manner in which it was conducted. It took nearly 11 months for prosecutors to formally see the case after the alleged sexual assault.

STEVEN CANNON/Associated Press

In the film, Stern notes that Kinsman says she faced nearly constant harassment from other students during the investigation.

“All these people were praising [Winston]…and calling me a s---, a w----,” Kinsman says.

The case continued to make national waves in 2014, when Winston underwent a Title IX investigation that put him in front of the school's judiciary board. Winston did not testify in his behalf in the case but released a detailed statement of his account of the night, claiming their sexual encounter was consensual. The five-page statement read in part, per ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach:

I did not rape or sexually assault [the accuser]. I did not create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment in the short period of time that we were together. [The accuser] had the capacity to consent to having sex with me and she repeatedly did so by her conduct and her verbal expressions. I never used physical violence, threats, or other coercive means towards [the accuser]. Finally, I never endangered [the accuser's] health, safety, or well-being.

Despite the lack of testimony, Major B. Harding ruled Winston was not in violation of the school's code of conduct. He indicated the school did not adequately prove that "it is more probable than not that [Winston is] responsible for the charged violations." 

“I kind of just want to know…why me?” Kinsman says in the film, per Stern. “It doesn’t really make sense.”

Winston, who went 26-1 during his Florida State career, has left school to enter the 2015 NFL draft. Kinsman has an ongoing Title IX lawsuit against the university, which was filed earlier this month.

 

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