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June 4, 2014

Casher, Darby get results from school hearing

Two Florida State players facing student code of conduct charges will not face expulsion or suspension for the regular season, sources tell Warchant.com.

Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, both projected starters for FSU's 2014 defense, faced a student code of conduct hearing in late May in connection with the school's Title IX investigation of a sexual assault complaint in December of 2012 involving quarterback Jameis Winston.

Casher, in statements to police during the criminal investigation, said he entered the room where Winston and a young woman were having sex and took a video on his phone. Darby also admitted to seeing Winston and the young woman having sex in an interview with the Tallahassee Police Department. The woman involved later accused Winston of rape after the encounter.

Casher and Darby could have faced punishments ranging from a letter of reprimand to expulsion from school. Instead, Darby will not be sanctioned while Casher will face a one-year school probation with community service - neither will be suspended from school or team activities. The two had a hearing on May 20, but Winston was not present to testify. The punishment for Casher is not of a criminal nature and tied only to Florida State's student code of conduct.

USA Today quoted lawyers for both Ronald Darby and Chris Casher saying Darby was found 'not responsible' for 'conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for another person' and that Casher's lawyer was 'pleased' with the ruling.

Casher's lawyer, Adam Ellis, declined to share the details of the ruling on Casher's charges.

FSU's student code of conduct lists a variety of lower-level sanctions that can be leveled against a student. Namely, disciplinary and conduct probation, a letter of reprimand and possible community service. Due to federal FERPA laws, those decisions are often not public record.

State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to press criminal charges due to lack of evidence in the case, but Title IX legislation stipulates that universities and colleges are obligated to conduct their own investigation regardless of what happens with any criminal investigation.

Florida State also faces a Title IX investigation from the Federal Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights as to whether the university was compliant with federal law in how it responded to the Winston case.



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