Rolling Stone backtracks on Virginia college rape story

Fri Dec 5, 2014 7:08pm EST
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By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) - Rolling Stone magazine on Friday backtracked from its November article about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, saying that there were "discrepancies" about the accuser's account.

The story created an uproar at the school and prompted renewed U.S. debate on sexual abuse. The fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, rebutted key parts of the Rolling Stone story on Friday.

The story, by reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely, described a 2012 alleged attack on a woman named Jackie at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house pledge party and the university's alleged failure to respond to the attack.

In a note to readers posted on the magazine's website, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana said new information showed that there were "discrepancies" in Jackie's account of the alleged rape by seven men.

"We have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced," Dana said.

"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," Dana said.

The magazine has identified the accuser only as Jackie, her real first name.

The fraternity's University of Virginia chapter, in a statement, pointed out inconsistencies in the story. It said Phi Kappa Psi did not hold a party on the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012, the night of the alleged attack. And it said that pledging and initiations take place only in the spring semester, not in the fall.   Continued...