Christy: Why Maricopa County Declined to File Charges Against Greg Winslow

by Ceci Christy 7

June 13th, 2013 National, News

To clarify the Maricopa County Attorney’s decision to not seek criminal charges against Greg Winslow, we spoke with Jerry Cobb of that office.  As the press release stated, the County Attorney believed he had enough evidence to support filing criminal charges against Mr. Winslow for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor.  This evidence was presented initially in the Arizona State University (ASU) police report sent to the County Attorney in February of this year.

Conducting its own investigation of the statements in the police report, the County Attorney confirmed the allegations that Mr. Winslow touched the victim’s breasts and kissed her numerous times over a three-year period while she swam for Mr. Winslow at the Sun Devil Aquatics Swim Club on the ASU campus. She was 15 at the time these assaults began. Based upon the victim’s statements in the report, there was no sexual assault beyond kissing and touching of her breasts.  When the victim reported these assaults to the ASU police, the report states the police set up a call between the victim and Mr. Winslow.  In this call, according to the report, Mr. Winslow apologized to the victim for repeatedly kissing her and touching her breasts. 

The County Attorney’s office, based upon Arizona statute 13-1404, decided to present their case to the grand jury.  In a closed and confidential grand jury hearing, the prosecutor lays out its evidentiary case before the grand jury, and the grand jury decides if the prosecutor has enough evidence to proceed with filing formal charges against an accused party.  In this case, the grand jury determined that the County Attorney was unable to meet the necessary burden of proof in order to prosecute Mr. Winslow.  Thus, no charges were filed against Mr. Winslow for his alleged sexual assault on the victim.

The burden of proof in this case is overcoming the presumption of consent under the statute.  This statute is unique in that the age of consent for sexual contact is 15.  The statute states “a person commits sexual abuse by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with any person 15 or more years of age without consent of that person….”  The burden of consent is for the prosecution to overcome, not for the accused to prove. 

The County Attorney needed to show to the grand jury that the victim did not consent to Mr. Winslow’s kissing and inappropriate touching.  Based upon the evidence presented to it, and we are not privy to that evidence, the County Attorney could not prove she did not consent.  This finding is not the same as saying she did consent, but only that the evidence failed to show she did not consent.  In law, the opposite of a finding does not necessarily equate to the finding, as in this case. 

Without proving to the grand jury that the victim did not consent, the County Attorney could not meet the standard under the statute for prosecuting Mr. Winslow.  As a result,  Mr. Winslow will not be prosecuted unless additional information is forthcoming that can overcome the element of consent.

After this announcement in a news interview, the victim’s father expressed anger and outrage at the grand jury’s decision and at the statute.  He is calling for Arizona to change the age of consent allegedly assaulting his 15-year-old daughter.   His daughter has suffered with physical and mental health issues since the abuse.  He wants to find another avenue to pursue Mr. Winslow, but does not know where to turn. This next avenue may be for him to contact USA Swimming and start the complaint process there.

 

 

 

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coacherik

Wow…

Barbara

Really?? So it’s ok in a court of law for a swim coach to have a physical relationship with a 15 year old as long as it goes no further than touching her breasts and kissing her! Really!!? There is really something wrong with this story or a major fact has been left out!! Either way i am disgusted!!

DL

The problem is the legal issue of definition of consent and the fact that in Arizona a 15-year-old is deemed essentially an adult in these matters. This is unfortunate.

Neptune

Not just a swim coach…any adult. This is crazy! Wonder how many other states an adult can get away with this with a young teen???

If you are from Arizona and do not like the existing law that caused this problem, then take a few minutes and figure out who your state Senator and state House Representatives are and e-mail them asking to change the law so that minors can NEVER be assumed to be giving consent.

I was personally very surprised to learn that a minor could ever be considered as able to give legal consent to any sexual activity. This is a statute that needs to be fixed.

About Ceci Christy

Ceci Christy is the mother of two teenage daughters and has held the proud title of swim mom for nine years. She volunteers extensively at her daughters' swim club in Atlanta. While being a mother is her most rewarding job, Ceci also serves as a pro bono child advocate in …

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