'Rolling Stone' apologizes for University of Virginia rape story

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Friday, December 5, 2014
Rolling Stone released a statement today saying there were discrepancies in their story about a student who was gang raped at the Unviersity of Virginia's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
Steve Helber / AP

Rolling Stone magazine released a statement today saying "there now appear to be discrepancies" in their story of a University of Virginia student who said she was gang-raped at a fraternity party in 2012.

The November 19 story titled "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA" detailed a woman's account of being raped at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. The article quickly made headlines across the country and world, and resulted in the suspension of fraternities at UVA until January 9, according to ABC News.

Following the Rolling Stone article, doubts began to rise, however, on the legitimacy of the claims made by the woman in the story, who went by the pseudonym Jackie. The Washington Post published an article on Friday titled "U-Va. fraternity to rebut claims of gang rape in Rolling Stone." The Washington Post article noted inconsistencies of Jackie's accounts present in the Rolling Stone piece, including her alleged attacker not being a member of the fraternity.

"I never asked for this" attention," Jackie told the Washington Post. "What bothers me is that so many people act like it didn't happen. It's my life. I have had to live with the fact that it happened every day for the last two years."

Rolling Stone released the following statement on Friday.

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled "A Rape on Campus" by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university's failure to respond to this alleged assault - and the school's troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie's story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone's editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie's credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie's account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. 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.

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.

Will Dana
Managing Editor

The University of Virginia's Phi Kappa Psi chapter also released a statement on Friday.