Rolling Stone backs away from controversial UVA rape story

uva-logoRolling Stone is backing away from a story published last month alleging that the University of Virginia had failed to respond to a shocking gang rape of a first-year student in 2012, citing “discrepancies” in the account of the unnamed accuser.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story,” Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana wrote on the magazine’s website today.

Media critics had begun picking apart the story, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, as it became apparent that Erdely had not attempted to contact the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity where the rape had been alleged to have taken place. Erdely admitted in media interviews that she had not the alleged perpetrators at the request of the accuser, who was given the pseudonym “Jackie” for the purpose of reporting on the story. Dana in his note to readers wrote that the accuser’s friends and activists at UVA strongly supported the account, and that the accuser “neither said nor did anything” that made the magazine doubt her account.

“We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence,” Dana wrote.

The UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi issued a statement today that casts more doubt on the account. It had been alleged that the ringleader of the assault was a fraternity member who was known to the victim because they both worked together at the Aquatic and Fitness Center as lifeguards, but the frat said none of its members was employed as a lifeguard at the Aquatic and Fitness Center in 2012 when the attack was alleged to have occurred.

The story also listed a specific date for the attack, Sept. 28, 2012, but the fraternity said today that it did not host any social functions the weekend of Sept. 28.

The Washington Post reported today that a group of Jackie’s close friends have also come to doubt her account, noting that details of the story that she has provided have changed over time, and that the name of the alleged attacker that she provided to them for the first time just this week, more than two years after the alleged incident, turned out to be the name of a student who belongs to a different fraternity.

The Post reported that it had been able to make contact with that man, and that he said by phone that he did work at the Aquatic Fitness Center, but that he had never met Jackie or taken her on a date, and that he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

The University of Virginia has not yet issued any comment on the developments in this story.



augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.