MEDIA
05/12/2015 01:22 pm ET Updated May 12, 2015

UVA Dean Nicole Eramo Sues Rolling Stone Over Retracted Rape Article

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A University of Virginia dean who played a major role in Rolling Stone's now-retracted rape piece is suing the magazine for defamation.

Nicole Eramo, an associate dean of students at UVA who handles sexual assault cases on campus, is seeking more than $7.5 million in damages from Wenner Media, Rolling Stone's parent company. Eramo alleges that the November 2014 piece unfairly portrayed her as "indifferent" to the alleged victim's tale. Eramo is also suing the magazine and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who wrote the controversial piece.

"The portrayal of Dean Eramo in 'A Rape on Campus' and in Erdely and Rolling Stone's subsequent public statements, are categorically false," the suit reads. "Indeed, publicly available information demonstrates that the highly disparaging claims about Dean Eramo are all untrue."

"A Rape on Campus" detailed the alleged sexual assault of a UVA student referred to in the article as only "Jackie." In the piece, Jackie claims she was raped and humiliated by several members of the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. The story alleges that Eramo encouraged Jackie not to report the crime because "nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school."

The piece sent shockwaves through the campus. The university asked for a criminal investigation into the matter and suspended all fraternities on campus.

However, reports from The Washington Post and other news outlets called into question some of the story's most shocking elements. Friends of Jackie claimed that her account of the assault changed repeatedly over time. The Post also found that Jackie's description of one of the main fraternity members involved in the incident didn't match anyone in Phi Kappa Psi.

Rolling Stone backed away from the piece after the doubts emerged. After a lengthy investigation by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, the article was retracted.

"I did not go far enough to verify her story," Erdely admitted in a statement at the time. "I allowed my concern for Jackie's well-being, my fear of re-traumatizing her, and my confidence in her credibility to take the place of more questioning and more facts. These are mistakes I will not make again."

Rolling Stone declined a request for comment to HuffPost.

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