University of Virginia Associate Dean Nicole P. Eramo is suing Rolling Stone for defamation over the 2014 Sabrina Erdley story about a gang rape on campus which never occurred. Eramo claims that she is portrayed as a villain who suppressed rape allegations, abused a rape victim.
Eramo’s attorneys intend to call the “victim” of the fictional rape as a witness in the trial that begins jury selection today in Charlottesville, VA.
Eramo sued for defamation last spring. She said the article painted her as the “chief villain” of the story, full of indifference toward a sexual assault allegation.
In her complaint, Eramo says in part:
“Erdely and Rolling Stone claimed — both in the article and in a slew of media appearances and interviews designed to increase publicity for the article — that Dean Eramo intentionally tried to coddle Jackie to persuade her not to report her rape; that she was indifferent to Jackie’s allegations; that she discouraged Jackie from sharing her story with others; that she ‘abuse[d]’ Jackie; that she did ‘nothing’ in response to Jackie’s allegations; that she claimed that UVA withholds rape statistics ‘because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school’; that she did not report Jackie’s alleged assault to the police; that she ‘brushed off’ Jackie; and that she actively sought to ‘suppress’ Jackie’s supposed gang rape. … These statements, and the portrayal of Dean Eramo, in ‘A Rape on Campus’ and in Erdely and Rolling Stone’s subsequent public statements, are categorically false.”
The AP reports that Eramo’s attorneys intend to call “Jackie” as a witness, either in person or with video of her deposition being shown to jurors. If that happens, according to the news service, it will be the first time “Jackie” has publicly addressed the discredited article since it was published.
Rolling Stone retracted the story after it was published after scrutiny ultimately revealed that it was a case of fabricated “narrative journalism.”
With rape and sexual assault allegations playing such a large role in election year politics, the “rape on campus” scandal serves as an example of how when it comes to rape allegations people often believe what they want to believe.