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Florida State University Settles with Jameis Winston Accuser for $950,000

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03: Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers checks the Carolina Panthers defense at the line in the 3rd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Florida State University officially put an end to the four-year the rape accusation against Jameis Winston, after settling a Title IX lawsuit with student Erica Kinsman, who claims that the quarterback raped her back in 2012. The University announced the settlement on Monday, a year after she complained in federal courts.

Under the settlement, FSU will pay Kinsman $950,000 (attorney’s fees included), making it the largest Title IX settlement regarding reported sexual assault from a student. The University will also commit five years to planning programs to prevent, train and raise awareness for sexual misconduct, assault and rape.

This is the largest settlement under Title IX when dealing with reported sexual assault from a student. According to FSU president John Thrasher, the school agreed to the settlement simple to avoid the expenses for the litigation, not because of liability claims.

“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.”

Kinsman claimed that Winston raped her inside of his apartment. They had met at a bar close to campus, and finally, she stepped forward and reported the rape. Everything stayed silent for nine months, and in November 2013, the case became public, prompting Kinsman to leave FSU. A month later, state attorney Willie Meggs decided not to file any charges going forward in December 2013.

December 2014 marked Kinsman’s student conduct hearing, where Winston was not found responsible of any sexual misconduct and was let off free. In April 2015, he was drafted first overall in the NFL draft and is the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And Kinsman still had nothing done about his behavior.

According to John Clune, one of Kinsman’s attorneys, though she agreed to the settlement, Kinsman will not withdraw her complaints, due to the fact that FSU was “indifferent” to her report, as Winston faced no disciplines and still got to participate in athletic events.

It’s cringeworthy to note that he was still lacing up his cleats and putting on his helmet as Kinsman sat there, victimized, and no one said a word.

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

Despite the fact that Winston is still walking free and playing in the NFL, the settlement may just force the league to look into this case and prompt them to somehow punish Winston. Not to mention, the University will now pay more attention to informing their students and protecting them when it comes to sexual assault.

In other words, Kinsman accomplished her goal: her voice is finally being heard after her alleged rapist was let free, and now, everyone is paying more attention.

Kinsman will graduate this spring, and another lawsuit and court case is currently pending in the U.S. District Courts.

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