In 2013, Jameis Winston’s football career and freedom were at stake when his name became embroiled in sexual assault accusations against a then-unnamed victim who has since been revealed to be Erica Kinsman.
While not claiming liability, Florida State University has agreed to settle a federal Title IX lawsuit with Kinsman in which she is to be awarded $950,000 for being victimized and traumatized from the night of the fateful event and on through the settlement.
The lump sum is the largest settlement for Title IX claims regarding indifference to a student’s reported sexual assault.
“I will always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,” Kinsman said in a statement. “I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students.”
Likely due to maleficence and ineptitude that was allegedly perpetrated by the Tallahassee Police Department in the handling and documenting of the case, no criminal charges were ever filed against Winston.
Also, Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs appeared to be hostile toward the victim and alleged a multitude of contradictions in her story. He was quoted as saying;
"Her recall of the events of that night have been moving around quite a bit," Meggs said.
That’s a cold-blooded thing to say about an alleged rape victim in public, but he said it. Kinsman also claimed investigating detective Scott Angulo refused to take a DNA test from Winston or interview his roommates.
This settlement is separate from another ongoing Title IX investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into a complaint filed by Kinsman in 2014.
In her lawsuit, Kinsman said the authorities were “deliberately indifferent” to her claim of rape and that they were “clearly unreasonable.” She believed this was done so that Winston could continue to play football for a team that had national championship aspirations.
Kinsman told the Tallahassee Police Dapartment that she met Winston at a bar near the campus and that he raped her in his apartment afterwards. The case went uninvestigated for nine months before State's Attorney Meggs refused to file charges.
Many of us are well aware of the danger posed by self-serving police officers roaming around our communities, but in the case of Famous Jameis, it appears as though the entire Florida criminal justice system offered him a pass and besmirched the name of Erica Kinsman.
Perhaps if a proper investigation was conducted by both the police and the school, a different outcome could have been achieved.
However, because it was a sham of an investigation, questions will always linger in this case. It's a signal to both schools and legal authorities that these situations need to be taken a lot more seriously and investigated a lot more thoroughly from start to finish.