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Woman who claimed gang-rape at Univ. of Virginia in Rolling Stone article ordered to testify

By Doug G. Ware
A woman who made sexual assault allegations against members of a University of Virginia fraternity in a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine was ordered that she must testify in a $25 million defamation lawsuit brought by the school's associate dean. The story was later retracted by Rolling Stone. File Photo by Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock
A woman who made sexual assault allegations against members of a University of Virginia fraternity in a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine was ordered that she must testify in a $25 million defamation lawsuit brought by the school's associate dean. The story was later retracted by Rolling Stone. File Photo by Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., April 5 (UPI) -- A woman who made serious sexual assault accusations against members of a University of Virginia fraternity -- which were featured in a sweeping 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article -- will have to testify this week in a defamation lawsuit against the magazine.

The woman, named "Jackie" in the article, told the magazine in November 2014 that she was gang-raped by members of the fraternity -- allegations that touched off a firestorm of criticism and outrage nationwide.

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Rolling Stone, however, was forced later to retract the story when it became known that the accusations could not be corroborated. The article's author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the magazine itself and publisher Wenner Media were all named in a defamation lawsuit brought by the university's associate dean, Nicole Eramo, last May.

Eramo previously said she was portrayed as a "chief villain" in the story. Her lawsuit seeks $8 million.

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Monday, U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad rejected an attempt by defense attorneys to prevent the woman from being questioned in an affidavit. Her lawyers had argued that being forced to give a deposition would cause harm to the woman's mental health.

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The woman, whose real identity has not been reported, will begin her deposition Thursday, NBC News reported.

The fraternity named in the article has also filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Erdely and the magazine.

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An independent review by the Columbia School of Journalism ultimately determined that in producing the article, Rolling Stone violated "basic, even routine journalistic practice" by failing to fact-check or corroborate key portions of the woman's story before the piece was published.

Police investigators later said there was no evidence to support the woman's accusations of being gang-raped.

Rolling Stone did not immediately comment on the judge's decision.

RELATED Rolling Stone retracts UVA rape story; fraternity may sue

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