Jury finds Rolling Stone defamed Dean Eramo in 2014 piece
Suck it bitches
A federal jury today found Rolling Stone magazine and its reporters guilty of defaming Dean Nicole Eramo in its controversial piece about rape at UVA.
Dean Eramo, an administrator in charge of handling sexual assault reports when the article was published, sued Rolling Stone, reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdeley and the owners of the magazine and claimed that she was unfairly characterized as trying to keep rape cases covered up.
In court, Tom Clare, the attorney for the dean said of Rolling Stone: “Once they decided what the article was going to be about… it didn’t matter what the facts were.”
To return a guilty verdict, lawyers for Eramo had to prove that the paper acted with “actual malice” as opposed to negligence in fact checking.
The court heard from both Eramo and Erdely as well as watching video testimony from “Jackie” – the source for the November 2014 piece.
Rolling Stone defended itself by pointing out that Erdely was denied an interview with Dean Eramo and told that federal privacy laws prevented UVA from discussing specific cases.
In April 2015, an investigation by the Columbia Journalism Review found that their inaccuracies were “a mistake that was avoidable” and that the university and the fraternity mentioned in the story had suffered as a result of the 9,000 word story.
Earlier this week, Sabrina Erdely defended relying on “Jackie” saying that she developed an open and “caring” relationship with her source.
Phi Kappa Psi is also bringing a lawsuit against Rolling Stone for defamation with the trial set to take place in October 2017. The frat, along with all greek organizations, was suspended for the remainder of the semester after the article was published, but returned after a police investigation cleared them.