The woman who accused Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her in December 2012 has filed a civil lawsuit against Florida State University, alleging the school provided a "hostile educational environment" in violation of her Title IX rights. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Orlando on Wednesday, came the same day Winston announced plans to make himself available for this year's NFL draft.
Despite documented mishandling of the Winston investigation on the part of Tallahassee law enforcement, FSU's president, John Thrasher, said in a statement to the New York Times that Winston's accuser did not have her Title IX rights violated:
“After a year of selective news leaks and distorted coverage, Florida State looks forward to addressing these meritless allegations in court,” Thrasher said. “Evidence will show that through its confidential victim advocate program, F.S.U. did everything the plaintiff asked for, and that the assertions F.S.U. shirked its Title IX obligations are false.”
He added, “F.S.U.’s handling of this matter was driven by the plaintiff’s deliberate and informed choice on how to proceed, not by athletics.”
The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights previously placed FSU under investigation for its handling of the Winston allegations last year. University officials reportedly met with Winston in January 2014 -- after football season ended and the quarterback played in the national championship game, and after the sexual assault allegations became public in late 2013. Title IX requires schools to take immediate action in the aftermath of reported harassment or assault. If FSU is found to have violated Winston's accuser's civil rights, the school's penalties are most likely to be monetary.