Charlottesville Police announced Monday they have found no evidence that a gang rape occurred at the University of Virginia in September, 2012; a severe blow to the already flawed Rolling Stone report dedicated to it two years later titled “A Rape on Campus.”
“I can’t prove that something didn’t happen, and there may come a point in time in which this survivor, or this complaining party or someone else, may come forward with some information that might help us move this investigation further,” Police Chief Timothy Longo said to reporters.
“That doesn’t mean that something terrible did not happen to Jackie on the evening of Sept. 28, 2012,” Longo added, referring to the alleged victim and adding that his department was simply unable to corroborate her account. “This case is not closed by any stretch of the imagination.”
The police department interviewed the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, whom they called “cooperative as best as she could be,” who provided them with unpublished information.
Police found that there was no party on the night Jackie alleges she was raped at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. That conclusion was bolstered by a photograph that’s timestamped September 28, 2012 — the night of the alleged rape — which depicts the fraternity house with few people in it, debunking that a party took place.
“Rolling Stone expects the Columbia Journalism School’s report on ‘A Rape on Campus’ imminently and we will be publishing it in the next couple of weeks,” the magazine said in a statement. “The report will provide a thorough analysis of the editorial process surrounding this piece, and Rolling Stone has cooperated with (dean of Columbia Journalism School) Steve Coll extensively. We have no further comment at this time.”
The police department’s findings further discredit Rolling Stone’s controversial piece, which already suffered serious reporting errors that forced the magazine to issue several editor’s notes concerning its account that seven men gang-raped female student “Jackie”at a fraternity party.
The story quickly unraveled, as it became apparent the author never independently contacted the man Jackie accused of orchestrating her gang rape or other men involved.
It was then reported that Jackie has grown unsure if the man who allegedly raped her was a member of the fraternity; Phi Kappa Psi issued a statement saying there was no “date function or formal event” on the night Jackie alleges she was raped.
All of the growing holes led Rolling Stone to issue an editor’s note, acknowledging errors.
“We published the article with the firm belief that it was accurate,” Rolling Stone wrote in an editor’s note amid mounting media backlash. “Given all of these reports, however, we have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.”
Rolling Stone did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s request for comment.