UVA dean files $7.85M lawsuit against Rolling Stone for rape story

By Danielle Haynes

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 12 (UPI) -- A University of Virginia dean who faced scrutiny after Rolling Stone published a now-debunked article about a gang rape has filed a $7.8 million defamation lawsuit against the magazine.

Nicole Eramo, UVA's associate dean of students, filed the lawsuit Tuesday at the Charlottesville Circuit Court. The lawsuit names Rolling Stone, the writer of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and Wenner Media, which publishes the magazine, as defendants.


The article told the story of "Jackie," who said she was sexually assaulted by members of UVA's chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

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.

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A later review found that Erdely and Rolling Stone's editors failed to corroborate the allegations "Jackie" made.

The lawsuit said the "defendant's purpose in publishing the article was to weave a narrative that depicted the University of Virginia as an institution that is indifferent to rape on campus, and more concerned with protecting its reputation than with assisting victims of sexual assault."


When asked for details about sexual assault at UVA, Eramo told Erdely the statistics were not public "because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school."

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"I am filing this defamation lawsuit to set the record straight -- and to hold the magazine and the author of the article accountable for their actions in a way they have refused to do themselves," Eramo said in a statement provided by her lawyer.

The school issued a statement Tuesday showing support for Eramo.

"The University of Virginia previously stated that the Rolling Stone article is an example of irresponsible journalism, which has damaged the reputation of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia. Dean Eramo is well within her rights to pursue this private legal action," the statement said.

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