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FSU to pay nearly $1 million to settle Erica Kinsman lawsuit

Florida State University has agreed to pay $250,000 to the former student who alleged that then-Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston raped her in December 2012.

The university announced the move in a prepared statement, released Monday, that was quick to note the school was also paying Erica Kinsman‘s lawyers $700,000.

Among her legal counsel, she is represented by Orlando attorney David B. King, who also successfully represented the plaintiffs in litigation against the state over congressional and state Senate redistricting.

She claimed the school violated Title IX, the law prohibiting sex-based discrimination at schools that accept federal dollars. Kinsman said FSU didn’t properly investigate her rape complaint against Winston. He has denied assaulting her.

In return for the settlement, Kinsman will drop her lawsuit against the public university.

Winston, who now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, filed his own defamation suit against Kinsman in federal court, saying her “false statements have irreparably harmed him in his professional and personal life.” That case is pending.

“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,” FSU President John Thrasher said.

“We have decided to instead move forward even though we have full faith that the ultimate outcome of a trial would have been consistent with the previous law enforcement investigations and retired Supreme Court Justice Major Harding’s findings in the student conduct hearing.”

Thrasher also referred to “rampant misinformation and speculation surrounding this case” by saying the school “remains committed to making our campus safe for all students and our school free of sexual harassment and sexual assault. As I’ve said before, one sexual assault against or committed by an FSU student is one too many.”

The university statement listed several initiatives to make its campus safer, including forming a sexual assault prevention task group, creating a kNOw more campaign, and hiring attorney/social worker Jennifer Broomfield, “a highly qualified expert in interpersonal violence,” to be FSU’s full-time Title IX coordinator.

“There should be no doubt that Florida State is serious about fighting sexual assault,” Thrasher said.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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