Woman Who Accused QB Winston Of Rape Gets $950K, But Should She Have Gotten A Settlement?


The saga of the Florida State University sexual assault scandal seemingly came to a close on Jan. 25. The college paid a settlement of $950,000 to former student, Erica Kinsman. The school will also make a concentrated effort to raise sexual assault awareness over the next five years.

Kinsman reported to authorities in 2012 that she had been raped by fellow FSU student Jameis Winston. He was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing in a student hearing in December 2014, USA Today reports.

Kinsman left FSU after her accusation went public. Winston, who was a football player for the FSU Seminoles, won the Heisman Trophy in 2013, was the No. 1 draft pick for the NFL 2015. He currently plays as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kinsman filed a Title IX lawsuit against FSU, alleging the university had been indifferent to her sexual assault complaint.

According to The New York Times, there had been failings in both the Tallahassee police investigation into Kinsman’s case and FSU’s response.

The police had failed to contact witnesses of the incident, including Winston, and the lead investigator had waited months to file their first report, calling off the investigation without even notifying Kinsman. Crucial evidence was lost as a result.

For its part, FSU athletic officials declined to investigate Winston in January 2013. Kinsman alleges that they were ignoring her accusation just to protect their star athlete.

Now the case has been settled with nearly a million dollars shelled out by FSU. 

“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,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “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.”

The university will also commit resources to curbing on-campus sexual assault with awareness programs and strengthening campus safety, USA Today reports.

“She [Kinsman] had two goals in this case -- one was to hold the university accountable for what happened and the other was to force changes at Florida State,” said one of Kinsman’s lawyers, John Clune.

FSU had intimated that Kinsman would only be receiving $250,000 of the settlement and that her attorneys would be pocketing $700,000.

“That’s false,” Clune told The New York Times. “Florida State knows it’s false.” The exact split hasn't been made public, according to ABC News.

Kinsman said in a statement after the settlement: “I will 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.”

Sources: The New York TimesUSA Today, ABC News / Photo credit: Keith Allison/Flickr

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