Rolling Stone Rape-Story Trial Won't Be Mag's Undoing

'Rolling Stone' is being sued for defamation over UVa article
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2016 9:59 AM CDT
'Jackie' May Testify in Trial Over Retracted Rape Story
This 2014 file photo shows the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

A defamation case against Rolling Stone magazine over a botched article on campus rape at the University of Virginia gets underway Monday. Some related developments:

  • "Jackie," the student who claimed to have been gang-raped at a frat party, is expected to testify as a live witness during the two-week trial, reports the Charlottesville Daily Progress. (The magazine retracted the article after Jackie's claims began unraveling and police found no evidence it happened.)
  • Former UVa dean of students Nicole Eramo is suing for $8 million because she says writer Sabrina Erdely portrayed her as uncaring toward students and willing to sweep allegations under the rug. "To win the case, Eramo’s lawyers will have to prove that Erdely knew what she was writing about Eramo was false or inaccurate but chose to print it anyway," notes New York magazine.

  • The judge will allow witnesses to discuss a federal report that previously faulted UVa for its investigation of sex assault cases, as well as interviews given by Eramo defending the school's policy. See BuzzFeed.
  • The National Organization for Women hates that Jackie must testify. "It is exactly this kind of victim blaming and shaming that fosters rape culture, re-victimizes those brave enough to have come forward, and silences countless other victims," it says in a letter, per USA Today.
  • This isn't the only lawsuit Rolling Stone faces over the story; a second, from the accused frat, seeks $25 million. But legal experts don't think the magazine is headed toward a Gawker-like fate even if it loses them. See the New York Times.
For reporter Erdely, this has been her "worst nightmare." (More Rolling Stone stories.)

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