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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's lawyer says that the Heisman Trophy winner will cooperate will a Title IX investigation being conducted by the school regarding rape allegations against Winston.
Winston's lawyer confirmed his participation in the school's investigator in a letter, reports ESPN. Winston was accused of raping a Florida State student in 2012, but after an investigation Florida's State Attorney's Office declined to file charges against Winston citing a lack of evidence. But after the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation into the school's handling of the allegations, Florida State began their own investigation into the incident.
What is Title IX and what does it do?
Title IX refers to the section of the U.S. Code that prohibits sexual discrimination in education programs which receive federal assistance. Many people may recognize Title IX from one of its more noteworthy applications: the requirement that schools, including high schools and colleges, provide the same level of opportunity, funding, facilities, equipment and other considerations to women's sports that the schools provide for men's athletics.
Increasingly, however, Title IX is also being used to force schools to properly investigate and handle claims of sexual violence. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education released a list of 55 schools that were under investigation for alleged violations of Title IX for improperly handling reports of sexual violence or harassment on campuses. Among those 55 schools was Florida State.
Under Title IX, schools that become aware of alleged sexual violence are required to investigate and take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the hostile environment created by sexual violence or harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy any effects it may have had.
If a school fails to live up to its responsibilities under Title IX, it may be subject to legal liability. Earlier this year, the University of Tulsa was sued in federal court under Title IX by a student who claims the university failed to investigate or respond to her report of being sexually assaulted by a member of the school's basketball team.
According to ESPN, in his letter to the school, Winston's attorney David Cornwell writes: "Mr. Winston will cooperate with the Investigation. He looks forward to clearing his name."
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