In the short time since Meggs’ office took over the case, investigators have taken DNA from Winston, interviewed the alleged victim and looked at other evidence.
Meggs said DNA found in the accuser’s underwear matched Winston. Winston’s attorney, Timothy Jansen, has suggested Winston had consensual sex with the accuser and he expects the prosecutor will exonerate his client.
Jansen planned to address the media later Thursday.
Patricia Carroll, the attorney representing the alleged victim, has not responded to requests for comment. Her office is expected to release a brief statement after the prosecutor’s announcement.
The alleged sexual assault was first reported to police on Dec. 7, 2012. The family has said the alleged victim did not know the identity of her attacker until early January. Police said last week that they tried to interview Winston in January but that Jansen at the time told them his client would not answer questions.
The family has been sharply critical of the way Tallahassee police have handled the case. They said they pushed to have a DNA sample taken from Winston, only to be told by a police detective that it would alert Winston and make the case public. The family said Carroll was warned by police that Tallahassee is 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.”
Tallahassee police have defended their handling of the case and said it was placed on inactive status in February after police were told the alleged victim did not wish to prosecute the case. Carroll has denied that the woman wanted to drop the investigation.
The alleged victim was an FSU student, but she left school last month.