“Jackie,” the UVA student who accounted a gang rape in a Rolling Stone article that has now been debunked, has been ordered to testify in court.
The article ‘A Rape on Campus’ is a 9,000-word expose published in Fall 2014. The story centers on the claim that Jackie was raped by multiple fraternity men in her first year of college. Soon after its publication, however, the details of the article were scrutinized and questioned. After a police investigation, no evidence emerged to suggest that the gang rape occurred. Rolling Stone officially retracted the article in April 2015 soon after the Columbia Journalism School published a 12,000 word report that analyzed the article and branded it as a “journalistic failure.”
In the aftermath of the allegations, UVa Associate Dean Nicole Eramo filed a defamation suit seeking $7.85 million in damages. She is suing Rolling Stone, its owner Wenner Media, and the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Eramo, a UVa administrator who handles sexual assault reports, claims the story portrayed her as a “villain” and characterized her as uncaring and callous to Jackie’s needs following her alleged rape. She received hateful messages and death threats after the article’s release and argues that her reputation and career were seriously damaged in the process.
On April 5, Jackie will be called to court for a deposition. The court experienced several setbacks in gaining Jackie’s cooperation. After several unanswered requests for Jackie turn over communications related to her alleged rape, Eramo asked the court to compel her cooperation. While Jackie’s attorneys argued it was an invasion of privacy, the presiding judge officially ordered her to cooperate late last month. Jackie is now required to submit all correspondence relevant to the case, including messages exchanged with her friends, author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Rolling Stone, and UVa. The documents will remain classified and confidential.
“The court believes that a one-day, seven-hour deposition will be sufficient,” said Judge Glen Conrad wrote in an order calling Jackie to court. The trial is scheduled to occur on October 11th, 2016.