Jameis Winston's accuser files federal lawsuit against FSU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of rape has filed a lawsuit against FSU trustees, alleging the school violated her Title IX rights by failing to properly investigate the incident, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The sexual assault allegation against Winston stemmed from an incident in Dec. 2012. The woman, who was also a student at FSU at the time, told police she had been drinking at a bar with friends before going home with a man she didn't know. She said the alleged assault took place at an off-campus apartment, but she couldn't remember where it was.

A month later, she identified her alleged attacker as Winston. The case came to media attention nearly a year later when allegations that Tallahassee Police slow-footed the investigation came to light.

The star quarterback has maintained the sex was consensual and in Dec. 2013, the state's attorney decided not to press charges against Winston, citing lack of evidence. At a hearing last month, it was determined there also was not enough evidence to indicate that Winston violated the FSU student code of conduct.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Winston's accuser argues FSU deliberately violated Title IX - a federal law that prohibits education discrimination based on sex - by providing a "clearly unreasonable response" and allowing a "hostile educational environment," reports the paper.

FSU is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for possible violations of Title IX. If the investigation finds the university did violate Title IX, it could lose its federal funding.

John Clune, an attorney representing the alleged victim in the Winston case, previously told 48 Hours' Crimesider that his client withdrew from FSU "right after the story broke" because she and her sorority received death threats.

The lawsuit filed this week alleges "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."

It goes on to allege that the FSU Athletics Department violated school policy by failing to report to FSU administration that Winston had been identified as a suspect in a rape investigation.

"Had FSU... instead complied with its own policies and federal law by promptly investigating plaintiff's rape and sanctioning Winston while protecting plaintiff's safety, Winston would have been removed as a threat to plaintiff long before ever suiting up to play football... and plaintiff would be on campus progressing toward an FSU degree," the complaint states. "Instead, plaintiff was forced to leave campus while Winston remains, having suffered no consequences."

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and an unspecified amount of damages.

FSU has defended its handling of the Winston case. In a statement issued in October of last year, the school said that as soon as they learned the alleged rape occurred off-campus, school officials contacted the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) who then took over the case.

Neither Winston nor the TPD are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed this week by the accuser.

On Wednesday, Winston announced he was entering the NFL draft.