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Jameis Winston, accuser settle sexual-assault lawsuit

Jameis Winston
Published Dec. 15, 2016

After months of litigation, a tentative settlement has been reached in the sexual-assault lawsuit against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston and the woman who accused him of sexual assault intend to dismiss the lawsuit within 20 days, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday.

Attorneys for both sides said separately that the case was "resolved to the satisfaction of the parties" but declined further comment. Terms of the settlement were not released.

Wednesday's move is one of the final steps in a case that dates to a December 2012 offcampus sexual encounter when Winston and Erica Kinsman of Zephyrhills, both 18 at the time, were students at Florida State.

Kinsman accused Winston of rape. Winston said the sex was consensual. Investigations by the Tallahassee Police Department and State Attorney's Office ended with no charges brought against Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. Then-State Attorney Willie Meggs said he declined to bring charges because there was not enough evidence to get a conviction.

In 2014, a retired state Supreme Court justice who presided over an FSU code of conduct hearing cleared Winston of four violations, saying there was no way to know who was telling the truth in the case.

Two weeks before the Bucs chose Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Kinsman filed a civil lawsuit against Winston, accusing him of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and inflicting emotional distress.

Winston filed a countersuit, saying Kinsman tried to defame him and her actions "irreparably harmed" him personally and professionally. The sides had a long negotiating session in July in Orlando, but the case continued.

A jury trial at U.S. District Court in Orlando had been scheduled for April.

The filing Wednesday in Kinsman's suit indicates both sides have "reached a compromise with contingencies."

The Bucs declined to comment.

Wednesday's settlement is separate from one that was reached this year in a suit Kinsman had filed against Florida State, accusing the university of "deliberate indifference" to her sexual assault complaint, a violation of the federal gender-equity law Title IX. Kinsman and FSU settled for $950,000 in January, with FSU admitting no wrongdoing.

A separate investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights remains ongoing.

The case made national headlines beginning when it became public as Winston led the Seminoles to an undefeated season in 2013 and the national championship.

The case gained more notoriety last year when Kinsman shared her story in the documentary The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses.

Winston has become one of the NFL's top young quarterbacks since joining the Bucs. He made the Pro Bowl last season as a rookie. This year he has guided the Bucs to an 8-5 record and into playoff contention heading into Sunday's game at Dallas, and his 23 touchdowns are tied for ninth in the league this year.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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