Fraternity Settles Suit Against Rolling Stone for $1.65M

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A Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter it plans to settle a lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine in a defamation case involving allegations, later debunked, that University of Virginia students participated in a gang rape, the Washington Post reports. Fraternity spokesman Brian Ellis said the case filed in state court in Charlottesville is expected to be settled for $1.65 million. “It has been nearly three years since we and the entire University of Virginia community were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath,” the fraternity chapter wrote. “The chapter looks forward to donating a significant portion of its settlement proceeds to organizations that provide sexual assault awareness education, prevention training and victim counseling services on college campuses.”

The 2015 lawsuit was the third defamation case brought against the magazine stemming from its November 2014 publication of “A Rape on Campus.” The 9,000-word account detailed blistering allegations of sexual assault at U-Va., including what the magazine described as a brutal gang rape hazing ritual. The article described the experiences of a U-Va. student named “Jackie,” who told of being assaulted by seven men while two others watched at a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party during her freshman year in 2012. Rolling Stone retracted the article after the Post showed that the magazine’s reporting and fact-checking was fatally flawed. U-Va. administrator Nicole Eramo filed a lawsuit claiming that she was erroneously portrayed as callous and indifferent to Jackie’s rape allegations. A jury ruled in Eramo’s favor and awarded her $3 million; the case was settled confidentially.

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