Jameis Winston may be leading his Florida State Seminoles football team in an undefeated, #1 ranking football season at the moment, but that is about all the good he has going for himself.
The university has arranged the Heisman Trophy winner to face a disciplinary hearing for his sexual misconduct allegations later this week.
In a letter sent to Winston and his attorney on Friday and obtained by ESPN, FSU interim president Garnett Stokes and vice president for student affairs Mary B. Coburn notified Winston that he might be charged with as many as four violations of FSU’s student conduct code, two of which involve sexual conduct.
According to FSU’s student conduct policy, Winston has five school days to contact the school’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities to schedule an information hearing, in which he will be advised about his rights and the upcoming student conduct hearing. The student conduct hearing would be held as soon as possible after the information hearing and would determine whether or not Winston is charged.
FSU officials have informed Winston that they have identified three individuals from outside the university who are willing to hear the case. Winston and his accuser each will have an opportunity to strike one of the people from hearing the case.
“To ensure an absolutely fair and impartial process, and to avoid any conflict created by the ongoing federal investigation and threatened civil litigation, the University will appoint an independent hearing officer to investigate and make findings regarding this matter,” FSU spokesperson Browning Brooks told ESPN on Saturday. “The use of an outside hearing officer is allowed under FSU procedures. Out of fairness to the students involved, we are exercising this option to remove any doubt about the integrity of the eventual outcome.”
“It’s a highly unusual process, and the decision to avoid making a charging decision is a way to get around making a determination about interim football suspensions,” said John Clune, the Boulder, Colorado-based attorney representing Winston’s accuser.
The university has never released detailed information about the case in order to protect the alleged victim but Florida’s district attorney declined to pursue criminal charges against Winston following a three-week investigation.
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