The Slatest

Rolling Stone Admits Problems With University of Virginia Gang Rape Story

The University of Virginia campus.

Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock

Since the Nov. 19 publication of Rolling Stone’s shocking story about a premeditated gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house, a number of writers have criticized the magazine and writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely for apparently failing to corroborate information given to them by Jackie, the victim of the alleged rape. (Slate’s Double XX Gabfest, on which Erdely appeared, was among the first to raise questions.) Today, a Washington Post report calls key details of the Rolling Stone story into question—and the magazine has published a note indicating that it no longer stands behind its piece:

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

The Post reports that Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity named in the story as the location of the attack, is preparing to release a statement “rebutting” claims made in Rolling Stone:

Officials close to the fraternity said that the statement will indicate that Phi Kappa Psi did not host a party on Sept. 28, 2012, the night that a university student named Jackie alleges she was invited to a date party, lured into an upstairs room and was then ambushed and gang-raped by seven men who were rushing the fraternity.

The officials also said that no members of the fraternity were employed at the university’s Aquatic Fitness Center during that time frame — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Washington Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account.

Jackie told the Post she stands by her telling of her story, and reiterated that she was raped—but also “acknowledged” to the paper that some details in the Rolling Stone article “might not be accurate.”