The attorney representing an alleged victim in a sexual assault investigation involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was told by Tallahassee detectives that if the woman pursued the case, her "life will be made miserable," the alleged victim's family said in a statement.
Detectives told the alleged victim's attorney, Patricia Carroll, that Tallahassee was a "big football town, and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable," the family said in a statement to ABC News Wednesday.
Jameis, a top Heisman Trophy contender, has been hit with accusations of sexual battery in an assault that allegedly happened in an apartment Dec. 7, 2012, his lawyer, Timothy Jansen, told ABC News last week. The case, according to Jansen, was closed in February by the Tallahassee Police Department but didn't reach prosecutors until last week and a heavily redacted police report was released.
The two-page incident report that does not mention Winston, 19, by name or the alleged victim, but Jansen said his client was the suspect. No charges were filed, and Winston had not been interviewed by police as of last week, Jansen said, adding that Winston has denied the accusations.
The alleged victim's family also said it feared "she would be targeted on campus" after she identified Winston as the suspect, according to its statement.
Interim Tallahassee Police Chief Tom Coe held a news conference Wednesday night stating his department could only make "limited" remarks about the case because it was an open investigation and he did not want to influence the way the victim and Winston were treated.
"In February of 2013, the case was classified as open but inactive when the victim in the case broke off contact with TPD and her attorney indicated that she did not want to move forward at that time," Coe said.
He did not address the family's comments about the way his department handled the case.
"If a detective actually said those words, it's totally inappropriate," ABC News chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams said. "No matter what the authorities did in the past, they're now going to have to make a clear statement that either says he's cleared, he's a suspect or he's being charged."
Coe said he looked forward to a time when the case was no longer pending and he could discuss more details about the investigation. He said the case was never closed, and "it was classified as inactive but open."
"When we received a media inquiry, TPD consulted with the state attorney's office. At that time, that case was reopened or reactivated. Let me reiterate to you please, the case was never closed," Coe said.
Winston's attorney challenged the credibility of the woman, pointing to discrepancies in the police report.
The suspect, in the incident report, is described as a muscular man between 5 feet 9 and 5 feet 11, weighing 240 pounds. Winston, a freshman, is listed as 6 feet 4 and 235 pounds, according to FSU.
"Do I believe that a normal person would confuse or mistake him as a 5-9, 5-11 person? No. He's a tall individual," Jansen told ABC News about his client.
In his first year as FSU's quarterback, Winston led the Seminoles to a perfect record and is regarded by many football analysts as the top collegiate player in the game. Winston is considered a front-runner for the prestigious Heisman Trophy.
Winston has not been charged with any crime and his attorney says he did nothing wrong.