A $25 million lawsuit has been filed against Rolling Stone magazine for 2014 article detailing an attack on a freshman by fraternity members that was later found to be inaccurate, according to a story on washingtonpost.com.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter at the University of Virginia filed the suit, citing the article titled “A Rape on Campus” The article was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, describing an attack on a freshman named Jackie in a second-floor bedroom by seven members of the fraternity while a fraternity party was being held downstairs on September 28, 2012.
After a number of discrepancies were noted in the article, two separate investigations, by the Columbia University journalism school and the Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Department, found that no gang rape had occurred at the fraternity and in fact, no party had been held at the fraternity house on the date mentioned in the article.
Rolling Stone retracted the article in April, and the editor of the magazine, Will Dana, resigned over the incident.
The fraternity released a statement saying the chapter and its student and alumni members suffered extreme damage to their reputations and continue to suffer in spite of the unraveling of the story. The statement added that student members and their families were subjected to undue stress and the article jeopardized the existence of the chapter.
Earlier this year, three alumni members of the fraternity filed a federal suit against the magazine, with one of the members, George Elias, writing that since he lived on the second floor of the frat house, members of the university community assumed he could have taken part in the alleged rape.
Another $7.5 million suit, filed by a University of Virginia associate dean who assists with sexual assault survivors at the campus, alleges she had been vilified by the magazine article.
The fraternity’s complaint, filed in state court, describes the actions of the magazine as “intentional, reckless and unethical behavior”, and is seeking “redress for the wanton destruction caused” to the fraternity.
According to the article, many alumni have taken references to their fraternity membership off of their résumés, fearing the association could interfere with prospective job interviews.