NEW YORK -- Charlottesville police suspended their investigation Monday into an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia after finding no evidence to support events as described in an explosive Rolling Stone article published in November.
Police Chief Timothy Longo said at a Monday press conference that the case is not closed and he could not rule out that something bad happened to Jackie, who was depicted by Rolling Stone as being raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in September 2012, her first year at the university. However, Longo said police could not substantiate the details of the magazine's account, including finding no evidence a party took place at the fraternity house on the night in question.
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the discredited article, has not spoken publicly in over three months. But Erdely did speak to police for their investigation, according to Detective Sgt. DJ Harris.
“Some of the stuff that was in the article, we were able to actually go through and get a little more detail than what was actually printed," he said. Harris said Erdely was "cooperative with us as best as she could be," given that she needed to also protect sources as a journalist.
The results of the police investigation come as Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism wraps up an investigation of the editorial process behind the story. A Rolling Stone spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Monday that the magazine will publish Columbia's full report, either in the magazine or online. CNN reported the investigation will likely be published in early April.
The independent review has been highly anticipated in media circles, and it is expected to shed some light on one of the biggest journalistic lapses in the magazine's 48-year history. The unraveling of Rolling Stone's report has raised questions about every aspect of the piece, from assigning to reporting to editing to fact-checking.
Rolling Stone published its explosive report on Nov. 19. There were immediate repercussions locally, with Phi Kappa Psi suspended, and nationally, as major news outlets descended upon Charlottesville to cover a university grappling with the horrific allegations.
Some questioned the veracity of Jackie's claims just days after publication. Within weeks, the Washington Post and other news outlets poked significant holes in the account, and attention turned to Rolling Stone’s reporting process. It came to light that Erdely made a deal with Jackie to not contact the fraternity brothers before publishing the story.
In addition, three of Jackie’s friends quoted in the story disputed how they were depicted and said Erdely never interviewed them.
Rolling Stone apologized on Dec. 5 for the story, but did not retract it. News organizations continued to find additional flaws in the piece, but top editors and Erdely remained silent as the magazine conducted an internal investigation.
The Huffington Post reported on Dec. 19 based on a Freedom of Information Act request that a Rolling Stone fact-checker didn't ask officials about the alleged rape in emailed questions to the university.
On Dec. 22, Rolling Stone founder and Publisher Jann Wenner announced that Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism would conduct an independent investigation into the piece.
The fraternity was reinstated in January after police announced they had found no basis for the allegations. The police department's full findings were announced Monday.
Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana, who has only given one interview since the story came under scrutiny, told HuffPost last month that he “commented extensively” to the Columbia team for its forthcoming report.
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