Victim's Attorney Speaks On Winston Investigation

Before the rape allegation was made public last week, Winston was favored to win the Heisman Trophy and the No. 2 FSU football team was on track to earn a spot the BCS National Championship Game.

The ongoing investigation has the potential to put both prestigious milestones in jeopardy.

If Winston is ultimately charged with a felony before the end of the season, Florida State athletic department policy states he must automatically be suspended from the team.

The high stakes were already of great concern to the victim's family.

The family wrote in a statement relatives were concerned about the woman’s safety on campus ever since January when she identified Winston as the person who assaulted her.

The family wrote Tallahassee police detective Scott Angulo told the victim's attorney, “Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.”

Interim Tallahassee police chief Tom Coe held a press conference Wednesday night stating his department could only make limited remarks about the case because it is an open investigation and he did not want to influence the way the victim and Winston were treated.

"On Dec. 7, 2012, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to a call from the Florida State University Police Department about an alleged sexual battery," Coe said. "We began an active investigation that involved collecting evidence and interviewing the victim. In February of 2013, the case was classified as open but inactive when the victim in the case broke of contact with TPD and her attorney indicated that she did not want to move forward at that time. "

He did not address the family’s comments about the way his department handled the case, although he said he looked forward to a time when the case was no longer pending and he could discuss more of the details about the investigation.

Coe read a statement to reporters but did not answer any questions during the press conference.

The victim's family contradicted a few other detailed previously released by police.

The statement read the woman was not intoxicated during the assault. The family also posed a series of questions, asking why Winston wasn’t named in the police report released to the media and why the case wasn’t referred to the state attorney until media outlets began inquiring about the case.

The statement indicated the victim’s attorney and Angulo discussed suspending the case so the woman could seek counseling before deciding whether to proceed, but her attorney still pressed for the collection of evidence.

Tallahassee city manager Anita Favors Thompson told city counselors the investigation was delayed when the woman reporting the altercation initially did not want to press charges, according to an email obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Coe said Wednesday night “when we received a media inquiry, TPD consulted with the state attorney’s office. At that time, that case was re-opened or reactivated. Let me reiterate to you please, the case was never closed. It was classified as inactive but open.”

The off-campus incident was handed to Meggs‘ office for the first time Nov. 12. Meggs began reviewing the case on Nov. 13, the day the Orlando Sentinel and a long list of other media outlets obtained a redacted incident report in connection with a sexual assault. Winston's attorney later confirmed to the Sentinel the quarterback was the person accused of being involved in the altercation.

Meggs told ESPN.com his office would likely decide whether to file charges rather than handing the case off to a grand jury.

"I'm not stupid," Meggs told the website. "It is a young man whose life is in a fish bowl right now. I think about that. There's also a young girl whose life has been turned upside down and her life will never be the same, either. We look at it and say, 'Which one of those is most important?' Both. It is a search for the truth and the truth is kind of elusive sometimes."