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Friday
Nov152013

Star FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Eyed in Year-Old Sex Assault

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Florida State University quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Jameis Winston is under investigation in an alleged sexual assault reported nearly a year ago, Winston's attorney confimed.

Winston's attorney, Timothy Jansen, said his client has been hit with accusations of sexual battery in an assault that allegedly happened in an off-campus apartment Dec. 7, 2012. No charges were filed and Winston has not been interviewed by police, Jansen said, adding that Winston denies the charges.

The case, according to Jansen, was closed in February by the Tallahassee Police Department but didn't reach prosecutors until earlier this week.

Police are not commenting on the case, citing the ongoing investigation. School officials say the case has not been closed.

Tallahassee police Wednesday released a heavily redacted two-page incident report that does not mention Winston, 19, by name or the alleged victim. The suspect's motive for the alleged attack was "sexual gratification," according to the incident report.

The alleged victim told police she had been drinking alcohol "before/during offense."

The suspect is described as a muscular man between 5-9 and 5-11, weighing 240 pounds. Winston, a freshman, is listed as 6-4 and 235 pounds, according to FSU.

"Do I believe that a normal person would confuse or mistake him as a 5-9, 5-11 person? No. He's a tall individual," Jansen told ABC News of his client.

Jansen said he did not know why local police waited until this week to hand over their investigation to prosecutors. He speculated that media requests for the records might have played a role.

"We are shocked to learn that a media request has started a reopening of a case," Jansen said.

Jansen also believes Winston's standing as one of the top collegiate football players and his success in helping FSU to a 9-0 record might have had something to do with the timing of the police report release.

"Right before the Heisman ballots are going out. Right before a potential national championship game is earned... I think that cannot be ignored," Jansen said.

Jansen said he hopes his client can move forward and focus on his rising football career.

"This will be a learning experience for him," Jansen said. "Hopefully, we can resolve this favorably and he can move on."

As for FSU, the Tallahassee school said in a statement, "We are aware of a matter that was investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department almost a year ago. Because the investigation has not been closed by TPD, we cannot comment further at this time. We look forward to a speedy resolution of the issue.

"There is no change in Jameis Winston's status. Coach Jimbo Fisher and Jameis will be answering questions about football only until there is a resolution."

The Seminoles, ranked No. 2 in the nation, went back to work Thursday, preparing for a home game against Syracuse on Saturday.

Coach Fisher said Winston took every scheduled practice snap and performed as usual Wednesday and Thursday. He also said nothing has changed about Winston's status as a team leader.

"He's been great," Fisher said. "He went out and practiced well, played well and eliminated clutter, from what I can understand as far as distractions."

Fisher declined to comment on the investigation and would not say when he found out about the alleged incident.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio