FSU Official Details Favorable Treatment of Players

Florida State Seal FSU logo
Posted at 7:44 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 22:05:32-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL(WTXL) -- Florida State University has responded to an university official's claim that there were 20 allegations of rape involving football players in the past nine years:

We have no way to confirm or deny Ms. Ashton's claims given that her communications with such victims are confidential. All students who seek Victim Advocate services are offered the opportunity and support to move forward within the criminal justice system or within the university. Equally important, those who wish to remain confidential and/or anonymous are given that opportunity. Absent a student being willing to report outside of the confidential walls of the Victim Advocate Program, the hands of the criminal justice system and the university's conduct code proceedings are tied. We cannot act on allegations of which we are unaware. We maintain a variety of systems to support victims and a number of ways to report sexual assault and act promptly on all reported assaults.
The number of 100, whether accurate or not, would include victims reporting both recent/current experiences and those who may have experienced victimizations long before coming to FSU but are triggered by something and want to talk. We are unaware of the Victim Advocate Program tracking cases to differentiate between these two very different circumstances, nor do they track cases by student-athlete status, much less individual sports.  As such, it is difficult to see how such an estimate can be accurately made by Ms. Ashton or anyone, much less verified.

We're learning more details about Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher's deposition in the civil lawsuit. 

Fisher says that in 2012 and 2013, he was unaware of any university policy regarding sexual battery.He said he was aware of a change in policy after 2013, which states sexual battery allegations have to be reported to not only his supervisor but FSU's Title IX Coordinator as well.

Fisher also says he didn't know who accused Winston of rape or whether she was an FSU student.

Original story is below.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -The Florida State University official who counsels campus rape victims told lawyers suing the school that her office has handled 20 allegations of rape involving football players in the past nine years.

Assistant Dean of Students Melissa Ashton made the statement in a deposition given last summer in an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by former student Erica Kinsman against the university. Kinsman says the university failed to respond to her allegations that she was sexually assaulted by ex-Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.

Ashton said football players receive special treatment at the school, and that most of the 20 victims declined to press student conduct charges.

Winston was cleared of wrongdoing by FSU following a hearing last year. A Florida prosecutor chose not to press criminal charges.

FSU released depositions of Ashton and FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher late Wednesday.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)