When a University of Virginia student confided in staff member Nicole Eramo that she had been gang-raped at a fraternity, Eramo says she took the shocking account seriously — so seriously that she referred the student to police, twice, the Washington Post reports. Eramo says she tried to do everything she could to persuade the student to report the incident to authorities, including the student’s claims that two other women had similarly been gang-raped at the same fraternity. If true, women on campus were in danger, and it was Eramo’s job to protect them.
The student, “Jackie,” then came to her again saying she had spoken to Rolling Stone magazine about her rape. Rolling Stone appeared to be misrepresenting her account and was going to make Eramo look bad, said the student. Eramo testified in federal court yesterday that the 2014 article did more than make her look bad. She said the magazine willfully ignored facts, didn’t seek the truth, and sought to distort reality to fit a predetermined narrative, ultimately destroying her credibility, costing her a position helping sexual assault victims at U-Va. and creating emotional turmoil. Rolling Stone ultimately retracted the story, and Eramo is suing the magazine. In a statement, Rolling Stone said Eramo’s testimony shows that Jackie’s account was believable at the time: “Throughout Eramo’s testimony, it was abundantly clear that she believed in the credibility of Jackie, whom she counseled for many months.”