CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Virginia judge has rejected a motion from Rolling Stone magazine to throw out a $25 million defamation lawsuit filed by the fraternity at the center of an article about rape allegations which were later determined to be false, according to the Associated Press.
The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi filed the lawsuit last year against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the writer and Contributing Editor of an article entitled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” which was featured in the Nov. 19, 2014 issue.
In the decision released Thursday, Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard E. Moore said that the statements made about the fraternity in the story could reasonably be considered defamatory.
The article centered on claims from a woman identified only as “Jackie” who claimed she had been the victim of a horrific gang rape that went on for hours in a bedroom of the Phi Kappa Psi during a fraternity party. After it was published, questions were raised about its veracity. Following an investigation, Rolling Stone admitted that the rape never took place.
The suit alleges that in the aftermath of the article, Phi Kappa Psi and its members became the object of an avalanche of condemnation worldwide.