Florida State student athletes Ronald Darby and Chris Casher had their SCC hearings Tuesday stemming from events relating to a 2012 sexual encounter between a woman and Jameis Winston, which the woman categorized as assault, and which Winston, Darby and Casher described as consensual. In 2013, the State's Attorney declined to press charges against Winston, citing an inability to get a conviction at trial due to a lack of evidence. In addition to the lack of evidence, multiple toxicology screenings came back negative, casting serious doubt on any claims that the woman or prosecutors might try to make about being impaired.
Let's get to what you probably want to know about Tuesday's events.
With what were the students charged under the FSU Student Code of Conduct (SCC)? Both were charged with "conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person" and "acts that invade privacy of another person." Casher faced an additional charge of "recording images without consent."
Why were those charges brought? In statements given to police, Darby and Casher admitted to walking in on the woman and Winston having consensual sex in order to embarrass him. In addition, Casher admitted to trying to videotape the encounter. Casher also admitted to trying to join in on the sexual activity -- something he said that other women had been willing to do with he and Winston in the past.
When is the University required to make a decision? Within 10 days. Though, it is not known if the decision must be announced simultaneously, or even publicly.
What are the possible punishments? The range is vast, from a letter of reprimand, to expulsion.
What is the likely punishment? It's hard to say, other than that in noting how wildly the punishments and proceedings can vary, I do not know anyone familiar with SC hearings who is expecting either player to be expelled because the underlying actions giving rise to the SCC hearing are, at worst, misdemeanors in the eyes of the law.
Was Jameis Winston present? No. Winston's attorney told the AP that he was not asked to be a witness.
Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen says Winston was not asked to be a witness or notified as a potential witness in any Student Conduct hearing.— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) May 20, 2014
Jansen said Winston is in Greensboro, NC for the ACC baseball tournament and is not scheduled to return until Sunday.— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) May 20, 2014
The accuser's attorney tells a different tale. If the accuser's attorney has any actual proof of his claim, he has yet to produce it for the media.
"As reported, a hearing was held at Florida State today for the two students charged in connection with the investigation of Mr. Winston. Out of respect for the confidentiality of the school's process, we will not comment on what transpired in the hearing room. We do confirm that our client was present as were the two charged students. Although we were told by the school that Mr. Winston would be called as a witness, he did not show for the hearing and no further explanation was given. Under the student code of conduct, the school has 10 days to reach a decision."
Casher's attorney told USA Today that Winston was on the witness list, but that he was not present. It is important to note that witness lists are used to give both sides time to prepare for people who may be called as a witness, not that the person is expected to be called as a witness, or that he will be called as a witness.
Was the accuser present? Yes
Did either Darby or Casher release statements regarding Tuesday's hearings? Yes, Casher did, and Kareem Copeland of the Associated Press acquired it. Casher does not deny the previous statements he made to police, but did offer an apology to the woman and Winston, and offers some reasoning for his actions on the night in question, which he now considers inappropriate. Here it is in full.
Chris Casher's statement during the Code of Conduct hearing:
As a student athlete and someone who once lived in a group housing situation, I was part of a unique group of people who lived differently from most others. Most people do not live, practice, play, eat and travel with the same group of peers nearly every day of their lives. Some unusual practices evolved within out group as a result of the close atmosphere between my fellow teammates and me, one of the things we all came to accept in our shared apartment was a distinct lack of privacy.
Ronald Darby and Jameis Winston are two of my closest friends. However, at the time everything was happening we never had any reason to question our behavior, or whether it was appropriate. Having the benefit of hindsight, I can now clearly see that I could have better handled myself.
When the police came to speak with me I was completely open and honest with them because I wanted to do everything I could to help. I knew that I was not required to speak with them, but I chose to talk anyway. I knew that I did not have to let them look through my cellular phone, but I let them look anyway. I wanted to be fully transparent because I honestly did not believe that any of us had broken the law or done anything wrong, and I wanted to clear the air and put the entire situation to rest.
I believed that the statement I made to the police was private. Maybe that belief was naive, but I had no idea that I was a potential target of investigation, or that anything I said that day would ever be used against me. I was being honest and trying to help, and I find it ironic and incredibly unfair that my honesty may now cost me my position on the football team, or even worse, my status as an FSU Student.
I deeply regret my actions on the evening in question. The atmosphere of over-familiarity with my teammates and the lack of privacy bubble we lived in at the time contributed to my poor choices that night. I entered and attempted to record mostly as a joke with my friend Jameis, but I should never have assumed that his female guest would feel comfortable with my presence in the room.
I want to point out there was nothing surreptitious about my actions in Jameis’ bedroom. I never made an attempt to hide my presence or conceal the fact that I had a video recorder (my phone) with me. I also want to be clear that I deleted the video, of my own volition, shortly after it was made, and before I was aware that any of these events had been reported. I did not retain any copies of the video and I never had the intent to disseminate the video to any others. Ms. (redacted) was not even visible on the video-what little bit that was recorded was completely useless.
Still, I realize that my behavior was inappropriate and I regret it. I had no intention to offend or hurt anyone that evening, but I did. I am truly sorry for the poor choices I made that night, and I have learned from the experience. The most important lesson for me is the wake up call to “grow up.” I am very fortunate to be an FSU student athlete, and I have been making a conscious effort to act like and adult and a gentleman worthy of my position since this incident. I had no ill will, but I also had no place in Jameis’ room that evening. I am embarrassed by my conduct, and I apologize to Ms. (redacted), Jameis, my fellow teammates, and the university for my actions. I commit and pledge to you that I have truly learned from these events, and that all my actions moving forward will be more thoughtful and mature.
Are Darby or Casher facing any criminal charges? No
What are Darby and Casher's roles on the football team? Darby is one of the top cornerbacks in the country, and Casher has the inside track to start at defensive end. Both players are in their third years of eligibility, and thus, are eligible for the 2015 NFL draft should they eventually elect to declare.
Is Jameis Winston facing any SCC charges? No. Here's his attorney to ESPN:
Jansen also said that Winston likely would have been required to testify if called upon by the school, and that he has no reason to believe there would be any more issues that would prolong Winston's involvement in the school's investigation, either as a witness or suspect.
Is Florida State commenting on the hearings? No. FSU contends that it would be a violation of federal and state law to comment on student disciplinary hearings.