Police in Charlottesville, Virginia have announced that after a months-long investigation, they have found no evidence of rape to support the claims made in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that reported a University of Virginia student had been gang raped while visiting a campus fraternity in 2012.
Police Chief Timothy Longo said “Jackie,” the woman who had originally made the accusations, had met with the police department on several occasions during the investigation, each time refusing to speak of the incident or offer any information pertaining to it. However, a number of lines of inquiry have led police to the conclusion that the fraternity did not have a party on the night in question, and no one matching the description of the alleged attacker has been found, reports Tyler Kingkade for The Huffington Post.
“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”
The five-month investigation came as a result of a 9,000-word article in Rolling Stone pertaining to a brutal gang rape at the fraternity house in which “Jackie” claimed to have been raped by seven men at the house. The article went viral last November.
However, the story began to unravel as the investigation began and friends, family, and members of the fraternity all challenged the events told by “Jackie.” When those flaws became public, Rolling Stone admitted it did not properly perform a fact check concerning the events prior to publishing the story, writes T. Rees Shapiro for The Washington Post.
While the police announcement is the first official discrediting of the events, Longo said the investigation would remain open to allow any witnesses the opportunity to come forward and offer police any information they may have pertaining to the events.
In an earlier interview with The Post, “Jackie” said remained adamant in her version of the night’s events.
“I never asked for this” attention, she said in an interview. “What bothers me is that so many people act like it didn’t happen. It’s my life. I have had to live with the fact that it happened — every day for the last two years.”
She went on to say that she does not expect much to come about from the police investigation, as it has been two years and she does not expect much forensic evidence to remain.
However, an investigation into the incident conducted by The Post has found inconsistencies in the account. Fraternity members of Phi Psi remain strong in reporting that they did not have a party that night, and none of their members match the description of the attacker. Someone who did match the description, and who “Jackie” had told her friends she had been on a date with that night, was not a UVA student and did not live in Charlottesville, but attended a school in another state and said he did not know “Jackie” well. Jackie’s friends reported that her version of the night’s events did not match with what they witnessed.
Police have confirmed the findings of that investigation.