Florida State settles rape lawsuit involving former football star

TAMPA, Fla. Florida State University has agreed to pay $950,000 to resolve a lawsuit accusing it of failing to adequately investigate a woman’s allegations that she was raped in 2012 by the school’s former star quarterback, Jameis Winston.

The university said on Monday it was seeking to avoid the expense of ongoing litigation by settling the lawsuit filed by former student Erica Kinsman under Title IX, which requires colleges receiving federal funds to thoroughly investigate all sexual abuse complaints.

“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,” university President John Thrasher said in a statement.

The settlement comes as Winston, last year’s No. 1 pick in the National Football League draft, concludes his first season playing professionally with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The athlete, now 22, never faced criminal charges over the sexual encounter, which he has maintained was consensual. He also was cleared of any student conduct code violations.

Yet the case has continued to generate interest, and Kinsman also filed a civil suit in Florida federal court against Winston, who filed a counterclaim. That case is unaffected by the university’s settlement, according to Kinsman’s attorneys.

Her lawyers called the lump-sum payment “the largest in history to a single plaintiff to settle Title IX discrimination claims of this kind for a school’s indifference to a plaintiff’s sexual assault.”

The school remains under investigation by U.S. education officials in response to Kinsman’s complaint, her attorneys said. Florida State highlighted in its announcement actions it said it has taken to enhance its response to sexual assaults.

“I’ll always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little. I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students,” Kinsman said in a statement.

The Buccaneers declined to comment on the settlement.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; editing by Tom Brown)

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