Florida State quarterback in second day of rape case hearing

Wed Dec 3, 2014 11:27am EST
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By Bill Cotterell

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - A school conduct code hearing looking into rape allegations against Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston entered a second day on Wednesday in a crucial week for one of America's highest profile athletes.

The 20-year-old sophomore, the top U.S. college football player last year after winning the Heisman Trophy, competes on Saturday in a conference title game that could decide whether the Florida State Seminoles advance to the sport's first collegiate playoffs.

Yet Winston's off-field behavior is under intense scrutiny as a former Florida Supreme Court justice hears testimony in a twice-delayed student disciplinary proceeding into allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman two years ago.

Winston was not charged criminally in the December 2012 incident, which he has maintained was consensual. A Florida state attorney last year found insufficient evidence for charges.

He could receive punishments ranging from a reprimand to expulsion in the university proceedings. Winston faces four conduct code charges, two of sexual misconduct and two of endangerment.

The quarterback on Tuesday dodged questions from reporters who were staking out the closed-door hearing.

“We think this nightmare will be over very soon,” attorney David Cornwell told reporters late on Tuesday, as he escorted Winston from the hearing room.

The female accuser, who no longer attends FSU, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which is investigating the university under Title IX, which requires colleges receiving federal funds to promptly investigate complaints of sexual abuse.   Continued...

Oct 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) warms up prior to the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports