CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A fraternity at the University of Virginia on Monday filed a $25 million lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine over a now-discredited story about an alleged gang rape that occurred there three years ago.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was at the center of the November 2014 feature story, which cited the claims of a freshman it identified as Jackie. The article alleged the young woman was raped by several men at a party in 2012 as part of a fraternity hazing ritual.
It wasn't long before the article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, raised serious questions about the woman's account. A police investigation later concluded no rape occurred at the fraternity.
In its lawsuit Monday, the University of Virginia's chapter of Phi Kappa Psi said the erroneous story fueled worldwide outrage and condemnation in its direction.
"The fraternity chapter and its student and alumni members suffered extreme damage to their reputations in the aftermath of the article's publication and continue to suffer despite the ultimate unraveling of the story," the Virginia chapter said Monday. "The article also subjected the student members and their families to danger and immense stress while jeopardizing the future existence of the chapter."
Rolling Stone declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday. In April, the magazine formally issued a retraction and its editor ultimately resigned.
Two of the inconsistencies that aroused suspicion of the article was the fact that the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity did not host a party on the night the woman claimed -- and one of the students she identified as an attacker was neither a fraternity member nor a University of Virginia student.
"This defamation action alleges that Rolling Stone set out in advance to find a sensational story of graphic and violent rape, searched for such a story at elite universities, and rejected other possible stories because the sexual assaults they portrayed were too 'normal,'" the fraternity said in the lawsuit. "Rolling Stone and Erdely had an agenda, and they were recklessly oblivious to the harm they would cause innocent victims in their ruthless pursuit of that agenda."
Some alumni of the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi have also reportedly taken legal action against the magazine over the story.