A week after State Attorney Willie Meggs closed the rape investigation against FSU football player Jameis Winston, and a day before Winston is to be awarded the Heisman Trophy in a lavish New York City ceremony, the complainant's attorney has spoken out with the accuser's side of the story.
Attorney Patricia Carroll pointed out that the Winston affair, "was an investigation into the victim, not into the accused," a refrain that frustratingly reflects the way many rape investigations are still handled. Even if the accused turns out to be garbage at football. Don't believe me? Then let's recap how the police handled the investigation into the story of Jameis Winston's accuser.
Witnesses Say that the Encounter Seemed Consensual
First Carroll pointed out how Casher and the second witness Ronald Darby's descriptions didn't match up with each other, such as when one said that they saw the accuser sit on the bed and perform oral sex on Winston, while the other said she was on her knees.
The Tallahassee police were inconsistent in their reporting as well. For instance, Carroll pointed out that in one part of Angulo's report, he wrote that the suspect was 6'2", and then that he was between 5'7" and 5'11" in another part. He also first wrote that the accuser couldn't describe or identify the apartment that the crime took place in, but in the second half of the report he said that she could.
From watching Chris Casher's videotaped testimony, the teammate with Winston that night, Carroll observed that he also admitted to videotaping Winston and the accuser during the incident, but then deleting it later on. She questioned why the police didn't follow up on that admission, since recording people having sex without their knowledge is illegal, and since deleting the video later could be construed as tampering with evidence.
For all the bleating people do about an alleged rape victim's credibility (see the comments here), they seem to forget that the same can and should be applied to the accused, his or her witnesses, and the investigators as well. Sure, the inconsistencies that Carroll pointed could be explained away; it's funny that we never think to extend the same courtesy to the accuser.
She Can't Explain Why She Can't Remember
A commenter pointed out this out to me specifically to imply that the accuser was lying. I guess Patricia Carroll has a heard a lot of this too, since she specifically clarified that the accuser brought up being hit on the back of the head as one possibility, to try and explain why she woke up on Jameis Winston's bathroom floor with an unclear memory of what happened that night. The attorney then contended that investigators seized on this statement and used it against her, when they didn't find any physical evidence of her having actually been hit.
The investigators and the public were also unduly suspicious of why the accuser only remembered things intermittently from that night. However, her intermittent memory, as well as her having a headache and nausea after the incident, is consistent with what happens to people after they take a date rape drug.
According to Carroll, the accuser's memory became fuzzy after taking a shot handed to her by Winston's group at the bar. She would then remember snatches of detail, such as riding on someone's scooter, or the bed and sheets that she was raped on, but not other details, such as how she got on that scooter in the first place.
So there's a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why she doesn't remember well. Such an explanation is tied into how she was allegedly raped, even! But no, if you don't remember as clearly as possible, then you're a liar.
There Was a Second Person's DNA So She Must Consent Every Time
Or, "look at how that girl gets around; she must have wanted it." Never mind that the second set was from the accuser's boyfriend during a consensual sexual encounter. Carroll said that the accuser cooperated fully in trying to obtain a buccal swab from the man in question to match that second set. She also pointed out that under Florida's Rape Shield Law, such evidence would be inadmissible in a trial, since it relates to the accuser's prior sexual history, and not the crime itself. She questioned why Angulo and Meggs were so focused on that DNA in light of that legal constraint.
The Accuser's Boyfriend Was Black, Ergo the Victim Likes Black Guys, Ergo No Rape
One reporter actually used this logic in his question to Carroll. Seriously.
People Handling the Evidence Didn't Take the Victim Seriously
Crucially, Patricia Carroll wanted the Angulo to test the accuser's blood and urine samples right after the hospital collected them on December 7th. However, he didn't send them to the lab until January 17th. In addition, she questions why the police just tested the urine sample for the presence of date rape drugs, and not her blood as well.
Carroll also requested details from both Angulo and Meggs about how the accuser's samples were stored and transported to make sure that no degradation or contamination occurred. They never provided her with this information. Without this information, she questioned whether the urine sample that the Tallahassee PD presented was even that of the accuser.
"There was no evidence" is basically what a lot of people said in response to my previous entry on this matter. What if the investigators didn't gather all the evidence they could? Could it have been tampered with, either accidentally or not? It shows how blindly people trust the authorities to properly investigate, especially when they're investigating an untrustworthy rape victim's claim, that these possibilities don't even cross their mind.
People Also Set Out To Prove that the Accuser Was Lying
Carroll backed up this assertion by asking why Angulo took a search warrant out on the accuser's phone records, and not on that of Winston or of his house, after she identified him on January 11th, 2013. She questioned why this warrant was then missing after Angulo turned his report over to Willie Meggs. When the accuser remembered that Winston's friend Chris Casher approached her at the bar before she took that unknown shot, Carroll contended that Angulo didn't contact Casher as soon as he could. In addition, Angulo interviewed the accuser five times after she filed her report, and focused on her witnesses and her behavior, with less focus on Winston himself. She claimed, even, that Angulo declined to even talk to Winston after the accuser named him as a suspect.
Seriously, the police interviewed the accuser five times, took out a search warrant on her records, may have implied she was lying because she mistakenly thought that someone hit her on the head, and possibly didn't test her blood or urine as thoroughly as they could have. They did all of that, and didn't even want to talk to Winston? That definitely smacks of bias to me.
Another reason why reporters questioned the accuser's motives to Carroll so much, and even why this story has gained traction in the first place. If you take nothing else away from Patricia Carroll's press conference, or this post recapping it, then at least take this away: football is more important than women. Always.