Uber driver sues Jameis Winston over alleged groping incident

TAMPA, Fla. -- The female Uber driver who accused Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston of groping her during a ride in her vehicle, which ultimately led to his three-game suspension by the NFL, has filed a lawsuit against Winston.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the plaintiff, identified as "Kate P.", states that despite Winston's three-game suspension, he "issued a hollow apology" in July and "has a history of sexually hostile behavior and appears to be no closer to understanding the impact of his conduct."

The lawsuit, a copy of which was provided to ESPN by the plaintiff's attorney, John Clune, alleges that while waiting in the drive-thru line of Los Betos restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, in March 2016, Winston was "belligerent" and "leaned toward [her] and placed his fingers between her legs and pressed them firmly against her vagina over her yoga pants."

She looked at Winston, down at his hand, and responded, "What's up with that?" before Winston withdrew his hand, the suit says. She then immediately tried calling her boyfriend before sending him a series of text messages. In one of the texts, she wrote, "I just got semi-molested by the Tampa Bay Buc QB," and that she was "pretty shaken up ..."

The woman did not file a report with police but had discussed it with her boyfriend. She did report the incident to Uber the next day. Uber contacted Winston, who told the ride-share service that there were other passengers in the vehicle that night.

An eight-month NFL investigation concluded that Winston engaged in detrimental conduct that night by "touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate."

She is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 because of the "damages in the nature of emotional distress and future therapy expenses."

When "Kate" first came public with her accusations in November 2017, she told BuzzFeed that she was not seeking financial compensation and that she came forward because she wanted to tell the truth "about a powerful man who felt entitled to my body when all I wanted to do was my job." But Clune told ESPN his client filed suit because of what they perceived as Winston's lack of contrition and his refusal to tell the truth.

The timing of the lawsuit, which comes just before Winston is set to return from suspension, has to do with the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in Arizona is two years from the date of the incident, which would have been March 13, 2018. However, the accuser received an extension, with the new statute of limitations expiring Sept. 20, 2018.

Winston's representatives said they anticipated the lawsuit, adding, "As for legal representation, Jameis has guidance. He has a good group of professionals around him right now."

The suspension is costing Winston $124,411 in game checks. He is set to return from his suspension next week.

Winston also was investigated for sexual assault while attending Florida State. Winston was never charged, but the student, Erica Kinsman, filed a civil suit against him, and he countersued. The suits were settled out of court in 2016, and specifics were not released.

Florida State was, however, found culpable for its handling of her complaint in a Title IX lawsuit filed by Kinsman, who also was represented by Clune. In January 2016, the school agreed to pay her $950,000 but did not admit liability as part of the settlement.