The Washington Post has published a new account of the supposed gang rape at the University of Virginia that implies that the story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely in Rolling Stone might be fabricated, Slate reports. The Post spoke with the three friends who met with Jackie, the student who says she was raped, on the night in question. In the Rolling Stone story, this scene was crucial, setting up the larger theme of a university culture and social scene indifferent even to the most brutalized victims of rape.
The Post doesn't connect all the dots, but it's not hard to do. Jackie gave her friends two different names for the man she was with that night. Neither of them was in fact with her, ever dated her, or even knew her all that well. She appears to have invented a suitor, complete with fake text messages and a fake photo, which suggests a capacity for somewhat elaborate deception. Jackie has not recanted her story. In what Slate calls “the most disturbing journalistic detail to emerge from the Post’s reporting,” In Rolling Stone, Erdely says that she contacted a friend named Randall, but he declined to be interviewed, “citing his loyalty to his own frat.” Randall told the Post he was never contacted by Erdely and would have been happy to be interviewed.