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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Next steps crucial for QB, woman

By Lester Munson

What we know about a sexual assault allegation against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is confusing because of the investigation's timing, leaks of only portions of the would-be case to the media, and conflicting stories from law enforcement and lawyers from the accuser's family.

Here are some developments to watch for and the possible turning points as the investigation continues:

Aside from the expected state attorney interview Thursday of the woman who made the complaint, the next and most important step in the investigation will be a review of the medical findings made in the physical examination of Winston's accuser on the night of the incident.

The DNA report obtained by's Mark Schlabach and the acknowledgement from Winston that he had consensual sex with the woman confirms the two were together early in December. The DNA test confirms that the accuser reported the incident shortly after it happened and submitted to a medical procedure known as a "rape kit," a set of examinations and sample collections that is designed to preserve evidence for use in a trial. Emergency room nurses are specifically trained in rape kit procedures and follow them automatically whenever a patient offers a history of an assault.

Florida state attorney William Meggs will study the medical findings in an effort to determine whether the incident was a violent sexual assault or consensual sex. The nature of any injury can be the conclusive factor in a prosecutor's decision. The presence of an abrasion or laceration could indicate a violent assault, and the absence of any such injury could indicate that the sex was consensual. It is highly likely that Meggs' decision whether to charge Winston will be based on the medical records of any injury.

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