CSC,NSCS Pay $900K In Settlement Of Suits Over Campus Suicide

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CHADRON – Chadron State College and the Nebraska State College System have reached a settlement in a pair of lawsuits brought by the parents of a 19-year softball player who committed suicide in her dorm room in January 2015. One suit was in federal court, the other in state court.

The settlement includes the NSCS paying $900,000 to Nelson Larios and Lissette Roohbakhsh while Chadron State will erect a memorial to their daughter, Fatima Larios, that can cost up to $25,000. The school will also award a new Spirit Scholarship in her name for at least 10 years to a member of its softball team.

The settlement agreement says both sides want to “avoid the expense and disruptions” of future litigation and “bring closure to (the) emotionally draining litigation” already filed.

The first indication a settlement had been reached was the publication in the May 13th edition of the Chadron Record of a joint article/op-ed piece on dating violence and suicide. It mentioned parts of the settlement without using that term and said the college and the family were committed to “steps that will ensure Fatima’s legacy is one that helps others.”

NSCS spokeswoman Judi Yorges issued a statement this week that says

“In a case like this, where a student has died, no one really
wins through protracted litigation. The settlement allowed the
family and the College to move forward and find ways to honor
Fatima. Not only on campus but through gestures like the joint
article on dating violence and suicide.
These two issues impact college campuses far too often
and we were pleased to be able to work with the family to bring
awareness and hopefully prevent these types of tragedies from happening in the future.”

Her parents argued in their 2017 lawsuits that Chadron State did nothing to prevent the suicide of their daughter, who they say was a victim of months of physical and emotional abuse from her boyfriend, a football player. She had transferred to CSC the previous summer to be with him.

Both suits call CSC “deliberately indifferent to sex-based dating violence” and said had the school followed its policies and Title IX regulations and had acted on reports of the abuse, Larios’ death could have been prevented.

CSC issued a statement after the lawsuits were filed saying it “shares her family’s grief and mourns Fatima’s passing…(but) is confident in its personnel and its policies, so it will remain focused on educating its students while it vigorously defends itself.”

In the settlement, the college also agrees to provide annual suicide prevention training to faculty, staff, and students for at least a decade and to spend at least one full day for the next 3 years with a consultant for “confidential technical assistance on Title IX-related policies, procedures, and practices.