‘Rolling Stone’ Magazine Settles UVA Fraternity Rape Story Defamation Lawsuit for $1.65 Million

After several years of legal upheaval over a contested story about an alleged on-campus gang rape, Rolling Stone Magazine is putting an end to its battle with a University of Virginia fraternity by agreeing to pay the group $1.65 million to settle a defamation lawsuit, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.


The settlement serves as the last leg of a controversy sparked by the November 2014 story “A Rape on Campus,” about a woman identified only as “Jackie” who claimed to be raped by members of the school’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity as part of an initiation rite.

The article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was retracted in April 2015 after a police investigation found no evidence to back up Jackie’s account.

The story was also shown to be poorly vetted by a separate journalistic investigation the magazine requested from the Columbia University School of Journalism, which ultimately called the piece a “journalistic failure.”

The Virginia Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, which had asked for $25 million, said in a statement that its members are glad to be able to put the “ordeal” behind them, according to the AP.

Their case against the magazine was slated to go to trial in October.

“It has been nearly three years since we, and the entire University of Virginia community, were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath,” the fraternity said to the Associated Press.

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SOURCE: The Associated Press; NBC News – Safia Samee Ali

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