An associate dean at the University of Virginia is suing Rolling Stone magazine for over $7.5 million, arguing that an untrue article published in the magazine pertaining to alleged gang rape on the campus portrayed her as “chief villain.”
According to Nicole Eramo, the top administrator for sexual assaults at the school, the article featured the story of a student referred to as “Jackie” and her alleged experience with gang rape on the campus. Eramo said that the article portrayed her as being more concerned with protecting the reputation of the school than helping sexual assault victims, writes Steve Szkotak for ABC News.
“I am filing this defamation lawsuit to set the record straight — and to hold the magazine and the author of the article accountable for their actions in a way they have refused to do themselves,” Eramo said in a statement.
Most of “Jackie’s” allegations have since been disproved by media reports, and a report published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism found the magazine to have not followed protocol when writing and publishing the article, titled “A Rape on Campus.” A separate police investigation of the incident found no evidence suggesting the story written in the article holds any truth.
However, no one at the magazine has been fired or punished so far.
Eramo’s lawsuit states that the article published in Rolling Stone claims she had “intentionally tried to coddle Jackie” in an attempt to persuade her to keep quiet about the incident. The article claimed Eramo did nothing when “Jackie” told her her story, claiming that the school did not publish its sexual assault data “because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.”
“As a woman who has dedicated her life to assisting victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse, Dean Eramo saw herself tarred in the national press as the chief architect of a conspiracy to suppress Jackie’s assault in order to protect UVA’s reputation,” the lawsuit says.
Earlier in the year, Eramo wrote an open letter to the magazine, saying that she will be “forever linked to an article that has damaged my reputation and falsely portrayed the work to which I have dedicated my life.”
The fraternity implicated of raping the girl in the article, Phi Kappa Psi, has also announced plans to sue Rolling Stone.
The university has since issued a statement to the Washington Post in support of Eramo’s lawsuit, calling the article an “example of irresponsible journalism, which has damaged the reputation of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.”