A federal jury awarded $3 million to former University of Virginia associate dean Nicole Eramo after finding that a Rolling Stone magazine article sullied her reputation by alleging that she was indifferent to allegations of a gang rape on campus, the Washington Post reports. The 10 jurors determined that Eramo’s suffering should cost a reporter and Rolling Stone multiple millions as a result of the article, which was retracted after its serious flaws were exposed. Eramo testified that after the article published, she faced threats, lost her ability to pursue her life’s work as a sexual assault prevention advocate, and took a major hit to her professional credibility.
On Friday, the same jury found the magazine and writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely liable for defaming Eramo in a 9,000-word account of sexual assaults published in 2014. The magazine later amended the article online to say that it had lost faith in the source of its most shocking allegations, and it then fully retracted the article after a Charlottesville police investigation and a report by the Columbia University School of Journalism found that aspects of the account were false. The jury awarded Eramo $2 million from Erdely and $1 million from Rolling Stone, less than half of the $7.5 million Eramo sought. “This was nothing short of a complete repudiation of Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s flawed journalism,” said Eramo’s attorney, Libby Locke.