Rolling Stone magazine and writer Sabrina Erdely have been found liable for defamation for the discredited 2014 “A Rape on Campus” story. Financial damages are still to be determined in the $7.5 million lawsuit filed by University of Virginia associate dean Nicole Eramo (pictured, with attorney Libby Locke).
The federal jury in Charlottesville, Virginia decided today that Erdely, Rolling Stone and Wenner Media defamed Eramo by presenting her as indifferent to rape allegations made by “Jackie,” a UVA student whose claims of a gang rape were later determined to be unfounded. The magazine acted with “a reckless disregard for truth” in accepting the student’s false allegations against a UVA fraternity.
Eramo’s lawyers argued in court that Erdely’s writing showed a pattern of having “a victim, a villain and a vindicator,” and that she and the magazine “were intent on imposing that on this story.” Rolling Stone later retracted the story.
The jury reached its verdict after three days of deliberations, and will now turn to the penalty phase. Eramo has asked for $7.5 million.