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

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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 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 still 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,” he added.

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 serve as FSU’s full-time Title IX Coordinator.

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

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.