A year and a half ago, the Rolling Stone published a now-retracted article telling the story of a woman called Jackie’s gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, and the gross misconduct of administrators that followed. One of those administrators, associate dean Nicole Eramo, has since filed a defamation suit against the magazine.
In new filings submitted to the court, Eramo’s lawyers argue that Jackie is “a serial liar who invented” her story, according to the Washington Post.
“Jackie was the primary source for Rolling Stone’s false and defamatory article that included her story about being the victim of a violent sexual assault,” said attorney Libby Locke. “But there is no evidence whatsoever that the story that Jackie told her friends, or the very different story she told Rolling Stone, actually transpired. Instead, it appears that Jackie fabricated her perpetrator and the details of the alleged assault.”
Some journalists and rape survivors have argued that the publication of the article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, has ultimately had a negative effect on the way publications and institutions are willing to talk about rape and sexual assault.
“Reporting on rape has unique challenges, but the journalist still has the responsibility to get it right,” Erdely said in a statement shortly after the story was proven largely false. “I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.”
Still, some advocates have argued that she may have embellished an assault that actually happened to her. Eramo’s lawyers dispute this theory:
“The story was a lie when she first told it in 2012, and it was no more true when Rolling Stone recklessly published the tale in 2014.”
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