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August-19-03

Florida State Officials Face Possible Charges in Rape Case

Several Florida State University officials face possible charges after evidence was revealed that suggests at least one official had discouraged an alleged rape victim from reporting the incident to the police. Notes taken by FSU Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Coburn and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel suggest that Associate Athletic Director Pam Overton advised the rape victim not to go to the police. School officials also attempted to broker an agreement between the accused football player and the woman in which the male student would admit to no wrongdoing but leave school until August, according to the Sentinel. FSU officials say that the agreement was requested by the woman and the football player, but the agreement was emailed to the woman five days after she decided to report the alleged assault to the police, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The football player was acquitted of all charges on Thursday by a jury in Tallahassee.

Leon County State Attorney William Meggs noted last week that the involvement of both Coburn and FSU President T.K. Wetherall was unusual, but the school insists they were not giving the case any special treatment just because it involved a starting football player, the Sentinel reports. FSU has received increased scrutiny recently because earlier this year a law enforcement investigation concluded that coaches and administrators were lax in a campus gambling investigation involving a former quarterback. In June, a university investigation found that "investigations were not properly documented" and there are "serious questions about the investigative processes within the [athletic] department," according to the Miami Herald.

Meggs told the Herald that at this time, he has no plans to file charges against any school official in this case. He is waiting to discuss the matter with senior prosecutors in the state, according to the Sentinel.

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Media Resources: Orlando Sentinel 8/15/03, 8/16/03, 8/19/03; Miami Herald 8/19/03; Tallahassee Democrat 8/16/03

   

     

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