The University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter has filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine over a discredited story that claimed a freshman female had been gang-raped at a campus party.
The suit concerns a 2014 article called “A Rape on Campus,” which said a woman had been brutally attacked and contended university officials had done little to investigate her claims.
The story was later retracted by the magazine, which issued an apology, as did author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who said that she did not do enough to document the woman’s claims.
Separate investigations by Columbia University’s journalism school and the Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Department concluded there was no gang rape.
The suit names the author, the magazine and its owner, Wenner Media. It was filed in circuit court in Charlottesville.
“These allegations did not concern harmless fraternity pranks,” the lawsuit says. “These allegations of ritualized and criminal gang rape that Rolling Stone knew were the predicates for annihilation of the Phi Kappa Psi and widespread persecution of its members,” the suit says.
A phone message left for Rolling Stone by INSIDE EDITION was not immediately returned. A magazine spokeswoman declined comment to the Associated Press.
Monday’s filing in Virginia marks the third suit filed against the magazine over the rape story. Three recent graduates, who were fraternity members, have filed individual suits each seeking at least $225,000. An associate dean named in the story is also suing for more than $7.5 million.