Florida State has reached a settlement agreement with Erica Kinsman, the former student who said she was raped by quarterback Jameis Winston in 2012. Kinsman initially filed the Title IX lawsuit over a year ago.
The university will pay Kinsman a settlement of $950,000 ($250,000 to Kinsman and $700,000 to her attorneys), and has agreed to offer five years of sexual assault awareness, prevention, and training programs. It is the largest settlement for Title IX claims regarding inattention to sexual assault ever, according to USA Today.
The Tampa Bay Times reports:
After a State Attorney’s Office investigation and an FSU disciplinary hearing ended without charges against Winston, Kinsman sued the school. Her January 2015 lawsuit alleged that FSU deliberately hid sexual assault claims against Winston “to protect the football program.” A year after the encounter, Winston won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to the program’s third national championship.
The suit - first filed under the pseudonym Jane Doe - accused FSU of violating the federal gender equity law Title IX with its “clearly unreasonable response” and “hostile educational environment” that forced her to leave the university as the case became public in November 2013. Title IX requires schools to investigate and remedy gender discrimination, including sexual harassment and rape. A U.S. District Court trial had been scheduled for September in Tallahassee, and an official joint notice and stipulation of voluntary dismissal with prejudice will be filed by Feb. 13, according to court documents.
“I’ll always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,” Kinsman said in a statement. “I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students. My hope is that the federal investigation of my complaint by the Office of Civil Rights will produce even more positive change, not just at FSU, but across the country.”
In 2014, news outlets reported that FSU officials had taken steps to obstruct the criminal investigation into the charges against Winston by failing to notify the proper authorities after learning about the crime, and by obtaining police records and supplemental reports days before informing the local prosecutor.
In a student hearing in that same year, Winston notably cast himself as the victim.
“Rape is a vicious crime,” he said in a statement. “The only thing as vicious as rape is falsely accusing someone of rape.
Winston was selected first overall in the 2015 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a statement, FSU president John Thrasher said, “Although we regret we will never be able to tell our full story in court, it is apparent that a trial many months from now would have left FSU fighting over the past rather than looking toward its very bright future.”
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