Falsely Accused: Settlement between SDSU and former student - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Falsely Accused: Settlement between SDSU and former student

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A former San Diego State University student has cleared his name after he was falsely accused of sexual assault, and on Friday he spoke with CBS News 8 about his settlement with the university.

Francisco Sousa said he feels vindicated after everything he went through in 2014. Sousa said he has moved forward two-and-half years after being unjustly suspended and falsely accused of sexual assault by a co-ed.

"I just want to go on with my life. My main objective was to exonerate and vindicate myself and I believe we were more than able to do that," he said.

After a protracted and pricey legal battle, the 23-year-old Portuguese national finally reached a settlement with SDSU which agreed to pay Sousa $10,000.

Sousa said he purposely did not seek a large monetary settlement because it was more important to vindicate his name.

"No amount of money could correct what happened to me. I also do not believe the taxpayers should be responsible to pay for the misdeeds of San Diego State," he said.

After SDSU issued a mass email to all students and faculty naming him as a sexual assault suspect in December 2014, the story went viral - damaging his reputation from California to Portugal.

All charges were later dropped and his suspension eventually lifted, but the damage was already done - forcing Sousa to transfer to another university.

"This all could have been avoided had SDSU actually done a proper investigation, and actually asked me questions," said Sousa.

Under the settlement, Sousa's record will be cleared - his arrest now a "detention." The university also agreed to special training for school employees who investigate sexual assault claims.

"Time will tell but I really hope that this does not happen again because I don't want anyone to go thru what I went thru - unfairly," he said.

San Diego State University said it does not comment on legal settlements, but in a statement to CBS News 8 said it takes the issue of sexual assault seriously. Further, it is "the school's responsibility to investigate all complaints to ensure the safety of our students."


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