Francisco Sousa said he wants his life back.
Two and a half years ago, the former San Diego State University (SDSU) student was wrongfully accused of sexually abusing a female student and was arrested.
The charges were eventually dropped, but the damage was already done.
SDSU officials sent a mass campus wide e-mail, warning other students about Sousa. The e-mail listed the alleged behavior and called Sousa out as a sexual predator.
He said the news traveled all the way to his native Portugal.
“I was in the media everywhere, not just in America, but also back home,” Sousa told NBC 7. “One day I'm going to be looking for a job, my kids are going to google their dad's name, what are they going to see?"
On Thursday, Sousa reached a settlement with the university.
“Obviously, I'm satisfied that we were able to reach an agreement with San Diego State,” Sousa said. “I can never go back and erase what happened but I'm glad we were able to reach a settlement.”
When Sousa first heard about the allegations, he said he didn’t take them seriously.
“I thought it was going to be over by dinner time. I knew I was innocent, but I had no idea that this was going to be blown out of proportion the way,” he said.
The incident happened back in December 2014, when in just one semester, 13 sexual assaults were reported on or around SDSU campus.
Sousa thinks the university felt pressured to crack down on these crimes. He believes he was used as an example, despite the unfounded claims.
Part of his settlement requires that SDSU give more training to its personnel.
“They agreed to pay $10,000, and to do the extra training for the police department and the title nine people,” said Sousa’s attorney, Mike Marrinan.
Sousa transferred to another university in California where he will graduate this semester with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics.
He told NBC 7, he’s ready to move forward and put this painful chapter behind him.
Since the incident, he said he hasn’t talked to the woman who wrongfully accused him.
“She could have stopped this at any moment when this was happening,” said Sousa. “It didn't only hurt me a lot, it also hurts other real victims out there, actual sexual assault victims who may not want to report it because of cases like this.”