Culture, Science & Faith

Police Reduce Rolling Stone's Rape Story to Rubble

Investigation found "no evidence" to support "Jackie's" story.

Paul Albaugh · Mar. 24, 2015
After Rolling Stone's damage was done, that is

New details from the alleged University of Virginia rape case emerged Monday, and the results weren’t exactly what many mainstream journalistic outlets were hoping for.

Last November, Rolling Stone magazine featured an article on the supposed UVA rape case concerning a college student named “Jackie,” the alleged victim, and members of campus fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, the alleged gang of rapists. Shortly after Rolling Stone published the article, it retracted several of the claims reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely put forth.

We noted at the time that Rolling Stone, in an attempt to support the narrative of a widespread “rape culture” on campuses around the county, was guilty of shoddy and reckless journalism. We hold fast to this assertion, and the Charlottesville Police Department agrees.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters the Charlottesville Police Department was “not able to conclude, to any substantive degree, that an incident which is consistent with the facts contained [in] that article occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, or any other house for that matter.”

Chief Longo noted that a time-stamped photo of the frat house where the alleged assault occurred revealed the house was practically empty at the time Jackie said the rape occurred. There was no party that night. Furthermore, Longo said his investigators had spoken with nine of the 11 members of the fraternity who were living at the house during the time of the incident, and none of them had any knowledge of the alleged assault or even who Jackie was.

To make things even sketchier, when Jackie came to police in the spring of 2014 to report a non-sexual assault, she provided details of the supposed 2012 rape. However, the details she provided to police were much different from those depicted by the Rolling Stone article. When the article was published, Jackie agreed to meet with police investigators, but, according to Reason’s Robby Soave, she “declined to give a statement or provide documents and was generally uncooperative.”

Chief Longo emphasized to reporters that despite lack of evidence from Jackie’s rape claim “the case is not closed by any stretch of the imagination.” He and his department are hoping someone will come forward soon with information related to the case. At this point there are no charges against Jackie for false statements. But the message is clearly that her story has little or no basis in fact.

Perhaps the most profound statement Chief Longo made is this: “Having police involvement in the early stages of an investigation is extremely, extremely important.” Ouch. Actually, that’s a nice way for the police chief to tell mainstream reporters (i.e. Rolling Stone) to stop reporting facts that aren’t facts.

Investigative journalism in this case and many others is dead. Why? Because it was more important for Erdely and Rolling Stone to perpetuate a (false) narrative about sexual assault on college campuses than it was to get the facts straight. While Rolling Stone magazine did apologize for making a wrong judgment in publishing the story, young men, a fraternity and an entire university were besmirched as a result.

In both police work and good reporting, it takes time to gather evidence, receive statements and get the facts right. Erdely spent time telling a good story, but the basics fell by the wayside. Yet Leftmedia outlets purposefully glamorized a story to draw attention to a particular phenomenon with the hopes of capturing a mesmerized audience. The cliché that “sex sells” is sad but true. Even in cases of alleged rape the facts are distorted in order to make a profit off of the individual(s) involved.

In a world full of false information, people want and deserve the truth. Truth never fears a challenge; yet too often mainstream news sources aren’t willing to be honest. It’s time they start, because anything less is a disservice to the American people.

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