Rolling Stone issues 'apology' for UVA rape story as victim's credibility questioned
By RYAN GORMAN
Rolling Stone magazine has issued an apology over how it reported a college rape story that made national headlines.
The magazine's about-face came as the Washington Post reported Phi Kappa Psi, the University of Virginia fraternity which allegedly hosted the party at the center of the accusations, is rebutting the woman's story.
"In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced," the magazine's apology, written by managing editor Will Dana, reads.
The original story, "A Rape on Campus," chronicled a brutal gang rape accusation made by a student named Jackie and the university's failure to investigate the claims. It led to headlines around the world and calls for colleges and universities to be more diligent in handling such issues.
But reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdley, who penned the exclusive, did not contact the accused attackers, or even name them in the article – Jackie insisted she leave them out of the story.
"We decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her," wrote Dana.
The magazine supported that crucial decision in the apology by recalling friends of Jackie who met with the reporter and backed the claims and the woman's history of discussing the assault in campus forums.
The fraternity, when reached by Rolling Stone, was not able to confirm or deny the allegations, but did admit having concern over the violence.
"We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account," Dana explained. "We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story."
Rolling Stone's scramble to apologize came just minutes before the fraternity issued the statement challenging Jackie's claims -- chief among them, there was not even a party the night she claims the rape occurred.
Also being refuted are the descriptions Jackie provided of her attackers and their place of employment, the school's Aquatic Fitness Center -- the fraternity insists no members were working as lifeguards at the time of the assault.
The Post reports that it has also worked over the past couple of weeks to corroborate Jackie's claims but has not had much luck.
A UVA graduate with a name similar to that of one of her alleged attackers was reached by the paper this week.
"He said, however, that he had never met Jackie in person and had never taken her on a date. He also confirmed that he was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi," said the Post.
Jackie's own friends began to doubt her claims after she told her friends the alleged attacker's name, according to the Post.
Police are still investigating the claims, but have declined to comment.
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