Rolling Stone is casting doubt on the account it published of a young woman who says she was gang-raped at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia, saying there now appear to be discrepancies in the student’s account.
A statement posted to the magazine’s website Friday said “our trust in her was misplaced.” The lengthy article, published last month, put a spotlight on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses in the U.S. and detailed what it called a hidden culture of sexual violence at U.Va.
The woman has been identified publicly only as “Jackie.”
The statement said that because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, Rolling Stone decided to honor her request not to contact the men she claimed organized and participated in the attack. That prompted criticism from other news organizations.
“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,” the magazine’s statement said. “We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.”
University President Teresa Sullivan has asked Charlottesville police to investigate the reported gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The fraternity has surrendered its fraternal agreement with the school and suspended all chapter activities.
“Our purpose is to find the truth in any matter and that’s what we are looking for here,” the police department said in an emailed statement Friday. “These articles do not change our focus moving forward.”
The school also had suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations because of the story.
The statement posted on Rolling Stone’s website and signed by managing editor Will Dana said only that those discrepancies in the woman’s account became apparent “in the face of new information.” It does not detail that information.