UVA official says Rolling Stone rape article damaged her reputation

By Andrew V. Pestano

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., April 23 (UPI) -- Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo of the University of Virginia has criticized Rolling Stone magazine for its retracted story about an alleged rape on campus.

Eramo issued a public letter, asserting the magazine's article "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA," written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, "deeply damaged me both personally and professionally." Rolling Stone's lawyers said the magazine "stood by" portions of the story about the dean's response to sexual assault complaints, according to Eramo.


Erdely's article prompted a national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses when it was published last November. It also led to the temporary suspension of all fraternities at UVA. The story alleged the rape occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

A later review found that Erdely and Rolling Stone's editors failed to corroborate the allegations of an anonymous source known only as "Jackie."

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"In the article and related media appearances, Rolling Stone and Mrs. Erdely stated that I discouraged Jackie from reporting or discussing her alleged assault, that Jackie suffered 'abuse' at my hands when she tried to hold the perpetrators accountable, that I called UVA 'the rape school,' that I did not 'support' Jackie, that I did 'nothing' in response to Jackie's allegations and did not report them to the police, and that I sought to 'suppress' Jackie's alleged sexual assault," Eramo wrote in the letter.


"Rolling Stone celebrated these malicious and false allegations by accompanying the article with a cartoonish picture of me doctored to appear as though I was smiling and giving a 'thumbs up' to a crying victim sitting in my office, while angry protesters marched outside with signs like 'Stop Victim Blaming,"' Eramo wrote.

The independent review, commissioned by Rolling Stone and published by Columbia University's journalism school, described the story as a "journalistic failure that was avoidable."

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"Jackie" said she was gang-raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in 2012, but subsequent investigations found multiple discrepancies in her story.

"These are all things that Rolling Stone would have figured out if its reporters, editors and fact checkers had not made a calculated decision not to contact sources who would have contradicted Rolling Stone's preconceived story line," Eramo wrote.

Rolling Stone has retracted the article.

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"Rolling Stone's recent actions are too little, too late. Although the magazine has finally removed the original article from Rolling Stone's website... my name -- and the Photoshopped picture of me -- remain forever linked to an article that has damaged my reputation and falsely portrayed the work to which I have dedicated my life," Eramo wrote.


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