UVA Dean Breaks Silence on 'Rolling Stone' Rape Story: "Article Attacked My Life's Work"

University of Virginia Rolling Stone Frat House - H 2015
Associated Press

Nicole Eramo writes that her reputation has been irreparably damaged by the story's claim that she discouraged the alleged victim from speaking out.

University of Virginia associate dean of students Nicole Eramo responded Wednesday for the first time to Rolling Stone's fraternity gang rape story, which describes her as having discouraged a student named Jackie from reporting the alleged assault.

Eramo's letter, published by the Washington Post, takes Rolling Stone to task for the way it handled the story, "A Rape on Campus," which the publication has since retracted. Eramo wrote that her name is "forever linked to an article that has damaged my reputation and that falsely portrayed the work to which I have dedicated my life."

Below are five of the most scathing passages of her letter.

1. [The facts about the incident are] things that Rolling Stone would have figured out if its reporters, editors and fact-checkers had not made a calculated decision not to contact sources who would have contradicted Rolling Stone's preconceived storyline. But Jackie's story of being victimized by a brutal gang rape at the hands of a UVA fraternity was simply too enticing not to publish — and UVA, its administration and its students were too easily painted as callous victims for Rolling Stone to be burdened by the facts.

1. Rolling Stone celebrated [its] malicious and false allegations by accompanying the article with a cartoonish picture of me doctored to appear as though I was smiling and giving a "thumbs up"  to a crying victim sitting in my office, while angry protesters marched outside with signs like "Stop Victim Blaming."

2. [Author Sabrina] Erdely squandered an opportunity to have a more nuanced and accurate conversation about this issue because she was busy filling in her preconceived narrative and ultimately setting back the cause of advocacy and support in ways that we are still only beginning to understand here in Charlottesville and across the country.

3. Rolling Stone also deeply damaged me both personally and professionally. Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life's work.

4. Inflamed by the false portrayal in the article, protestors showed up at my office, demanding I be fired. Perhaps most egregious and shocking were the e-mails that I received expressing hope that I be killed or raped, and commenting that they hoped that I had a daughter so that she could be raped.

5. Rolling Stone has refused to hold anyone accountable, and the so-called apology came only after the Columbia Journalism Review issued its report criticizing the magazine's reporting, which suggest that the magazine is more interested in currying favor with its friends in the media than truly making amends with those of us who have been hurt.