UVa student’s friends dispute Rolling Stone’s account

WASHINGTON — Rolling Stone has apologized for a story about “Jackie,” a University of Virginia student who says she was a victim of a gang-rape in a fraternity at the school. Now their account is coming under pressure from another source: Jackie’s friends.

One of the friends who Rolling Stone claimed was seemingly more concerned about the friends’ social standing at the university than getting Jackie help, told Taylor Rees Shapiro, of the Washington Post, in a story Wednesday that “it didn’t happen that way at all.”

Shapiro told WTOP Wednesday night that he has spoken with the girl’s friends, who weren’t interviewed for Rolling Stone, and they say that they “did seek help for their friend in the immediate aftermath of what she said was a brutal sexual assault.” Shapiro adds that they “tried to convince her to go seek [the] police, and she refused. … No conversation came up whatsoever about social status at all. It was about helping their friend.”

He adds that the friends dispute Rolling Stone’s account that Jackie had visible blood and injuries after the alleged assault, although he adds that “they did notice that Jackie was very upset, that she was crying, and that she was saying that something very bad had happened to her.” They say that Jackie declined to seek immediate help and wanted to go back to her room, and also that two of them spent the night with her.

Shapiro says he’s not sure that “we’ll ever know what really happened that night. … The events that she described occurred in a locked room. It’s very hard to determine what occurred inside a locked room unless you speak to everyone involved.” He says he’s tried to speak to everyone mentioned in Jackie’s account, but hasn’t been able to — including Jackie, whose lawyer told him she wouldn’t comment.

“We reach out to all sides … we could find,” Shapiro said.

He did say, despite the inconsistencies in Rolling Stone’s account of Jackie’s story, “obviously … sexual assault is a significant problem on campuses everywhere, and it’s something that people should be looking deeper into.”

Even so, Shapiro concluded, “There is no harm in always telling the truth.”

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