Nebraska State College System to Pay $900K in Settlement of Title IX Lawsuit

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 24, 2020

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 11: NCAA Softball and bats during a game between Northern Illinois and UNC Greensboro at UNCG Softball Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The family of Fatima Lissette Larios will receive $900,000 from the Nebraska State College System to settle two lawsuits that say Chadron State College did not do enough to prevent dating violence that resulted in the former softball player's suicide in 2015.

Per Chris Dunker of the Lincoln State Journal, Larios' parents said in a lawsuit that their daughter suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her then-boyfriend, who was also enrolled at Chadron State.

Case information, via Leagle provided more context on the plaintiffs' case:

"In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Chadron State was deliberately indifferent to reports of dating violence against Fatima by one of its students. They allege that if Chadron State had complied with its own policies and Title IX by properly responding to third-party reports of the abuse and took appropriate steps to protect Fatima's safety, Fatima's death could have been prevented."

Per Dunker, the lawsuit says that Larios' coaches noticed bruising that appeared unrelated to softball. They then spoke with the athletic director, who then discussed the matter with the school's Title IX office "responsible for investigating instances of sexual and dating violence involving members of the campus community."

The Title IX coordinator emailed a copy of the school's sexual violence and harassment policy with an invitation to discuss the matter further if Larios wanted assistance, per the Leagle document.

The lawsuit says that Chadron State did not do enough to speak with students who saw Larios' bruises and heard violent fights with her boyfriend in the dorm room. The college disputes those claims, per Dunker.

The lawsuit also says that the college did not provide Larios with mental health counseling or a victim's advocate prior to her death.

The settlement will be paid through the college's insurance, via Dunker. As part of the settlement, the school will award a "Fatima Larios Spirit Scholarship," which will provide financial aid to a softball player in each of the next 10 years. The school will also construct and maintain a memorial honoring Larios' life for 10 years.

"Both on the field and off, Fatima was dedicated to inspiring, mentoring and championing her teammates and friends," Larios' parents and stepfather stated.

"This settlement ensures that legacy will endure and that she will continue to help others while also making Chadron a safer and more welcoming community."

They also called the memorial "a fitting tribute to someone who lived life with passion, purpose and an unyielding faith in the power of every person to have a positive impact on those around them."