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Dean of University of Virginia Files Defamation Suit against Rolling Stone
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Nicole Eramo, the associate dean of students who was included in a Rolling Stone article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, has filed a defamation suit against the magazine.

Summary: Nicole Eramo, the associate dean of students who was included in a Rolling Stone article about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, has filed a defamation suit against the magazine.

According to CNN, the associate dean of students at the University of Virginia, Nicole Eramo, has filed a lawsuit alleging defamation against Rolling Stone for publishing a story in November about an alleged gang rape that supposedly occurred in a frat house. That story was later discredited.


Eramo claims that she suffered significant professional harm from the author of the story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, as well as the magazine itself.

In Erdely’s article, “A Rape on Campus,” the University of Virginia administration, including Eramo, were depicted as insensitive and callous to a female student who had alleged been raped by multiple male students. Additionally, the story included a photo of Eramo that was not flattering. According to the Washington Post, the photo was manipulated by Rolling Stone to make Eramo appear “villainous.”

The complaint reads, “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.” Fox News adds that Dean Eramo was the top official at the school assigned to handling claims of sexual assault.

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The female student that the story focused on was named “Jackie,” and the story was told mostly from her point of view. As soon as the story was published, the rest of the nation was horrified at the alleged events that took place. However, it soon became apparent that the story was not entirely accurate.

Read about the uproar across the country here.

In April, Columbia Journalism School reviewed the story, and found several inconsistencies within it. Additionally, the police in Charlottesville, Virginia, never found any evidence to support Jackie’s assertion that she had been gang raped in the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Rolling Stone retracted the story after Columbia Journalism School’s review.

However, not a single employee has been fired from Rolling Stone for being involved with the story. Erdely is a contributing editor at the magazine and will continue to write articles.

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The lawsuit was filed just a few weeks after Eramo sent a scathing letter to Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone’s publisher, calling the magazine’s apology “too little, too late.”

Libby Locke, an attorney on Virginia who focuses on defamation lawsuits, is representing Eramo in the suit. In addition to Erdely and Rolling Stone, Wenner Media, the publisher of Rolling Stone, has been named as a defendant. The suit seeks at least $7.5 million in compensatory damages.



The complaint states, “Erdely and Rolling Stone acted with actual malice when they published ‘A Rape on Campus.’ Erdely and Rolling Stone knew that Jackie was not a reliable source for truthful information about her interactions with Dean Eramo. They had serious doubts about the truth of the disparaging claims they planned to make about Dean Eramo, but intentionally violated commonly accepted journalistic norms and consciously failed to investigate sources and information that they believed would have revealed the falsity of the charges they leveled.”

An LSU law student was indicted for the rape of two women.

Eramo’s lawsuit may not be the only one filed as a result of the article. A spokesperson for Phi Kappa Psi said that the fraternity would “pursue all available legal action” against Rolling Stone. However, no lawsuits on behalf of the fraternity have yet been filed.

Read about the potential lawsuit from the fraternity here.

Source: CNN

Photo credit: Washington Post, (Locke)



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