Trials & Litigation

Fraternity files $25M defamation suit over retracted Rolling Stone story about campus rape claim

  • Print.

A fraternity has filed suit over a retracted Rolling Stone article that initially claimed Phi Kappa Psi members had been involved in a gang rape at its house on the University of Virginia. Two independent investigations—by police and a journalism school dean—have found no evidence that any such rape occurred.

The complaint (PDF), filed Monday in state circuit court in Charlottesville, the defamation suit alleges the story was published last year in reckless disregard of the truth and seeks $25 million in damages, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports.

“The fraternity chapter and its student and alumni members suffered extreme damage to their reputations in the aftermath of the article’s publication and continue to suffer despite the ultimate unraveling of the story,” the Phi Kappa Psi chapter said in a Monday written statement provided to the newspaper. “The article also subjected the student members and their families to danger and immense stress while jeopardizing the future existence of the chapter.”

Rolling Stone declined to comment when contacted by the Post.

The defamation suit is at least the third filed over the Rolling Stone article: An associate dean who says she was portrayed in the article as the “chief villain” filed suit in Charlottesville in May, and three graduates filed a federal lawsuit in New York in July. Although the three were not named in the article, they said facts provided in the story made them identifiable.

Reuters also has a story.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.