Florida State University has settled a federal Title IX lawsuit with Erica Kinsman, the former student who said former quarterback Jameis Winston raped her in 2012.
FSU agreed to pay Kinsman $950,000, which included $700,000 in attorney fees (though Kinsman's attorney's disputed the number but did not provide an alternative allocation), and pledged a five-year commitment to awareness, prevention and training programs for victims of sexual abuse. FSU also agreed to publish annual reports of sexual harassment allegations and abuse of its programs for the next five years.
The settlement came more than a year after Kinsman filed the initial suit.
Kinsman left Florida State in November 2013 after she said the harassment she endured on campus made it difficult to continue her education.
“I will always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,” Kinsman said in a statement following the settlement. “I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students.”
Initially, the suit alleged Florida State was “deliberately indifferent” to Kinsman’s sexual assault. The school did not admit liability in the settlement because, as university president John Thrasher stated, the school didn’t want to open itself up to further litigation.
“We have an obligation to our students, their parents and Florida taxpayers to deal with this case, as we do all litigation, in a financially responsible manner,” Thrasher said in a statement. “With all the economic demands we face, at some point it doesn’t make sense to continue even though we are convinced we would have prevailed.”
The university is still working through a Title IX investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Kinsman’s initial suit alleged that Winston raped her in his apartment after they had met at Potbelly’s, a bar near campus. Winston was not found responsible of sexual misconduct following a student code of conduct hearing in December 2014. During that football season, Winston went on to win the Heisman Trophy and lead the Seminoles to a national title. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
Kinsman sued him in April and Winston countersued. The case is still pending.
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