Florida State to Pay $950,000 to Settle Title IX Suit by Quarterback’s Accuser

[Updated (1/25/2016, 6:39 p.m.) with more on the disposition of the settlement money.]

Florida State University will pay $950,000 to settle a federal Title IX lawsuit filed by a former student who said she had been raped by a star quarterback for the Seminoles, USA Today reports. The university also agreed to make a five-year commitment to prevention and training programs.

The plaintiff, Erica Kinsman, sued the university a year ago, and in August a judge rejected Florida State’s bid to dismiss the case. The allegations involve Jameis Winston, a Heisman Trophy winner who now plays for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mr. Winston was found not responsible for sexual misconduct after a student disciplinary hearing, and he did not face criminal charges in connection with the accusations.

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

The university said that under the terms of the deal, Ms. Kinsman was expected to receive $250,000, and her lawyers would get more than $700,000. But the lawyers denied that they were receiving that much, and The Huffington Post confirmed that assertion. A copy of the settlement document, which USA Today published, indicated that the money would be divided up based on a decision by Ms. Kinsman and her lawyers.

“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,” said John E. Thrasher, the university’s president, in a written statement.

He said the university remained committed to making its campus safe for all students, and cited a series of steps the administration had taken to strengthen its response to sexual-assault allegations.

The settlement does not affect an investigation of Florida State being conducted by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

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