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Published On: Tue, Apr 7th, 2015

UVA Frat sues Rolling Stone over bogus rape story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely

The University of Virginia fraternity at the center of Rolling Stone’s retracted article “A Rape on Campus” said on Monday it planned to sue the magazine for what it called “reckless” reporting that hurt its reputation. The writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, is being called a fraud by critics, eagerly scrutinizing her other works.

Phi Kappa Psi’s announcement came a day after a team from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism concluded in a report that the magazine had failed to follow basic journalistic safeguards.

The 9,000-word story described how a student identified by her real first name, Jackie, said she endured a gang rape at the fraternity in 2012. The allegations sent shockwaves through the campus in Richmond, Virginia’s capital.

After the article was published in November, students demonstrated on campus and in front of the fraternity house, which was vandalized.

Rolling Stone rape on campus UVA bogus story“Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” Stephen Scipione, president of the fraternity in Charlottesville, Virginia, said in a statement.

“The abject failure of accountability in journalism that led to Rolling Stone’s ‘A Rape on Campus’ article has done untold damage to the University of Virginia and our Commonwealth as a whole,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement Monday. “More importantly, this false account has been an unnecessary and dangerous distraction from real efforts to combat sexual violence on our college campuses. My administration will not allow this shameful episode to stop the momentum we have built working with administrators, law enforcement, students and advocates to keep our campuses safe.”

Erdely, and the magazine’s top editor, Will Dana, say they are taking responsibility for the failures.

“These are mistakes I will not make again,” Erdely said in a statement.

But Erdely will continue writing for Rolling Stone. Dana is standing by her, telling The Washington Post that “Sabrina’s done great work for us over the years and we expect that to continue.”

Some of the criticisms:

“So no one gets fired and no policies change? No wonder so few trust us anymore,” former NBC News investigative correspondent Lisa Myers wrote on Twitter Sunday night.

“What would Rolling Stone in its heyday write about an institution that screwed up unbelievably, damaged people’s lives, but punished no one?” Politico’s John Bresnahan tweeted.

Acclaimed scholar Clay Shirky concluded that “this wasn’t a failure wasn’t of process, it was a failure of competence, one big enough that Will Dana should resign.”

“He won’t, though,” Shirky added. “Instead, he got Columbia to dress up Rolling Stone’s failure. The Columbia report is thorough, but a distraction.”

Dave Grohl UVA rape on campus bogus article

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Washington Post bemoans own rape study where none were reported, ‘study must be wrong’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] The THIRD explanation is that there aren’t that many rapes. The hysteria is just that…hysteria. The famous Duke Lacrosse rape case proved to be bogus and theUVA frat had to sue Rolling Stone over their bogus story. […]

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