Sexual assault is a hot topic in the state of Georgia and throughout the United States. Date rape on college campuses are of particular concern for many. A recent film explores this topic through some high profile cases on the topic. Yet, one cable news network may be sued after the controversial film is aired.
The lawsuit may come from former star college football quarterback Jameis Winston. In 2012 Winston was accused of rape while a student at Florida State University. When he was identified by his accuser, the police waited two weeks to interview Winston. A DNA sample was never taken to be analyzed by the police. He was never formally charged on the matter. Florida State University also cleared Winston in a university code of conduct hearing. The film, the Hunting Ground, marks one of the first times that Winston's accuser spoke publicly about the incident.
Through his attorney, Winston warned CNN that if the documentary was aired, he would pursue a case for libel. Despite the warning, CNN aired the film. Winston's attorney stated that parts of the documentary are deeply flawed and defamatory. His attorney also questioned the journalistic ethics of the filmmakers.
This story is another example of how serious charges can negatively affect the reputation of an individual for years to come. Even when formal charges are not filed, a defendant can suffer irreparable damage. A defendant that is facing criminal charges should seek experienced defense legal counsel to protect his or her interests. An attorney can fight to show that the incident never happened, or try to minimize the potential penalties from the incident.
Source: The Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Jameis Winston threatened possible suit over doc about rape accusation," Adam Carlson, Nov. 23, 2015