Rolling Stone backed away from its recent story on a University of Virginia student's harrowing description of a gang rape at a fraternity. The Washington Post says the tale began to unravel as interviews revealed doubts about significant elements of the account. The fraternity issued a statement rebutting the story, and Rolling Stone apologized for a lapse in judgment. Jackie, a U-Va. junior, said she was ambushed and raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi house at a 2012 party, allegations that pushed the elite public school into the center of a national discussion about how universities handle sex-assault claims.
Shocking for its gruesome details, the story described Jackie enduring three hours of successive rapes, leaving her blood-spattered and emotionally devastated. The fraternity calls the allegations untrue, saying there was no event at the house the night the attack was alleged to have happened. Jackie's friends believe that something traumatic happened to her, but they have come to doubt her account. A student who came to her aid the night of the alleged attack said she did not appear physically injured at the time but was visibly shaken. She told friends she had been at a fraternity party and had been forced to have oral sex with a group of men. The friends said details of the attack have changed over time and that they have not been able to verify key points in recent days.