Rolling Stone walks back UVA rape story, frat responds

Magazine failed to talk to alleged attackers, acknowledges "discrepancies" in story.

By Mary Papenfuss
Rolling Stone apologizes for University of Virginia campus rape story. Photo by Karen Blaha/CC
Rolling Stone apologizes for University of Virginia campus rape story. Photo by Karen Blaha/CC

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Rolling Stone has admitted it made serious errors of judgement in the reporting of its bombshell story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.

The article last month featured an anonymous victim, "Jackie," who reported being raped by several young men during a fraternity party three years ago, and underscored the university's lack of action.


The article's publication was met with outrage and the school vowed to carry out a thorough investigation, but Phi Kapp Psi released a statement saying there was no party at the frat house the night the alleged attack occurred. The fraternity raised several other questions about the legitimacy of the report, including the identity of the alleged ringleader of the attack, identified only as "Drew."

Rolling Stone now acknowledges there was no attempt to contact any of the men named by "Jackie," for their response because of a fear of "retribution" against her.

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"There now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced," said a statement by Rolling Stone's managing editor Will Dana. "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."


Jackie also discussed being confronted by one of the frat members at the university aquatic and fitness center where he worked, but there's no record of a member of Phi Kappa Psi working there at the time.

The fraternity's building was vandalized and its campus activities suspended after the article was published.

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University President Teresa Sullivan said the developments won't alter the school's focus on protecting students against sexual violence on college campuses.

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