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Winston sued over alleged sexual assault

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Jameis Winston, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in two weeks, is being sued for an alleged sexual assault.

Attorney John Clune said Thursday that he filed the lawsuit on behalf of the alleged victim, Erica Kinsman, who accused Winston of rape in December 2012. The suit, filed in Orange County, Fla., seeks damages of more than $150,000 for “intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Kinsman, a former Florida State student, said she was raped by the FSU quarterback at his apartment, but Winston said the sexual encounter was consensual and police in Tallahassee, Fla., and the state attorney’s office never charged Winston.

The quarterback was cleared of four violations of FSU’s student conduct code hearing after a student judiciary hearing in December 2014.

In January, Kinsman filed a federal lawsuit against Florida State, alleging that the university violated her Title IX rights.

On Thursday, Clune revealed the lawsuit against Winston with a statement: “Today, a very brave young woman filed her lawsuit against Jameis Winston for the sexual battery that she reported to police in December 2012. Over the past two years, this survivor of sexual violence has had to endure a delinquent police investigation, a hostile FSU athletic department, and Mr. Winston’s bullying lawyer. But the more these forces sought to silence her, the more determined she has become to step forward and hold Jameis Winston accountable for his actions. With the support of her family, she is prepared for this fight and for the counterclaims and the smear campaigns that will surely follow.

“We know that quite often the public is quick to support the cause against sexual violence but at times can be slow to support the individual women who come forward. We hope that this case becomes a model for understanding what real sexual assault cases look like as well as the barriers that survivors face in coming forward. Perhaps more than anything, Erica hopes to show other survivors the strength and empowerment that can come from refusing to stay silent no matter what forces are against you.

“Jameis Winston in contrast has proven time and time again to be an entitled athlete who believes he can take what he wants. He took something here that he was not entitled to and he hurt someone. There are consequences for that behavior and, since others have refused to hold him accountable, our client will.”

A two-year starter at Florida State, Winston won the Heisman Trophy and national championship as a redshirt freshman. He lost only one game in two seasons — the College Football Playoff semifinals against Oregon last season.

NFL teams have been wary of Winston’s past, which also includes theft of crab legs from a grocery store and an incident in the Florida State student union in which he stood on a table and shouted a profane statement.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who hold the No. 1 pick in the draft, have dug into Winston’s background, and coach Lovie Smith seemed convinced in February that the former Heisman Trophy winner could be the face of the franchise.

“I understand the allegations against him,” Smith said at the Combine.

“I understand that he went through the justice system, the court system to be exonerated on some allegations against him. I understand the college things a lot of guys do that you wish you wouldn’t later on.

“I understand some of the things that he did that are on his record right now. We just take all the information that we can possibly get right now. It’s early. Keep in mind that we’re just to the Combine right now. We have a lot more research to do, and we’ll do that. But with the information we have right now, we haven’t taken him off of our list right now.”

During a visit to Tampa Bay in early March, Winston said, “I have to do everything by my actions. It’s not time to explain about what I’m going through, but when I do get to a city and a team I plan on getting involved in the community and create an image, a positive image, and put everything else behind me.”


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