UVA administrator: Rolling Stone apologies weren’t enough

Courtesy of AP Graphics
Courtesy of AP Graphics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A University of Virginia administrator who sued Rolling Stone magazine over its portrayal of her in a now-discredited story about a gang rape said Wednesday that the magazine’s apologies for its journalistic failures didn’t go far enough.

Former Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo took the stand for the second day in her $7.85 million defamation trial. Eramo says the article portrayed her as indifferent to the assault of the woman identified only as “Jackie.”

Elizabeth McNamara, an attorney for Rolling Stone, noted that the magazine issued an apology in December 2014 and another one the following April when it officially retracted the article. She said that apology was specifically extended to school administrators.

Eramo told the courtroom she took issue with those apologies. Rolling Stone has said that while Jackie’s story may not have held up to scrutiny, it believes it’s reporting about Eramo was fair and accurate.

“This doesn’t seem like a sincere apology to me given that I had been told over and over again by the magazine that it stands by its statements with regards to me,” Eramo said.

McNamara, an attorney for Rolling Stone questioned Eramo repeatedly about support she got from students and staff in light of the article, pointing to notes sent to her and raises given to her byt the university after the article was published in an effort to show Eramo had not been damaged by the magazine’s story.

But during redirect by Eramo’s attorney she fought back saying she continues to deal with lingering negative effects to this day because of the story.

“I was portrayed as someone that gained the trust of young women in order to get them to not report their rapes,” said Eramo.

McNamara asked Eramo why she and the university didn’t investigate multiple rape allegations from Jackie.

Eramo said it was best for police to investigate, but Jackie wasn’t cooperating with investigators.

Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely who wrote the article started testifying Wednesday. Her 2014 story described Jackie’s account of being raped by seven men at a fraternity house in 2012. A police investigation found no evidence to back up claims. Erdely will continue testifying as the case continues Thursday morning.

The trial, which began Monday, is expected to last about 12 days.

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