Settlement Reached In Southern Miss Sexual Harassment Suit

A settlement was reached in Forrest County Circuit Court today for the damages phase of a four-year-old sexual harassment lawsuit against The University of Southern Mississippi.

The terms and the amount of the settlement between Southern Miss and Davida Williams were confidential. The agreement was reached two days into the trial.

Williams was awarded $800,000 in August 2002 in damages after a jury found that Rex Stamper -- a former English professor at the school -- sexually harassed her.

The jury also found that university officials retaliated by preventing Williams from getting her Ph.D. after she reported Stamper's actions.

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the verdict in November 2004, but ordered a new jury trial to determine damages.
   
The ordeal started for Williams when she entered Southern Miss' doctoral program in 1985. She says she wants to put the "inhumane treatment" behind her.

Attorney Alan Purdie says Southern Miss officials are satisfied with the settlement.