A judge decided that “Jackie” must testify in lawsuit against the University of Virginia. Jackie claimed she was gang-raped at a UVA fraternity several years ago. In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine ran an article about Jackie’s alleged assault. The fallout from the article resulted in UVA shutting down some of the fraternities and many colleges instituting new anti-rape policies. Her claims also brought a great deal of ire down on associate dean Nicole Eramo, who filed one of the lawsuits stemming from these allegations. A judge decided against the objections of Jackie’s attorneys that she must testify:
The ruling, by Chief Judge Glen Conrad of the Western District of Virginia, will require Jackie to be available for questioning by lawyers for Rolling Stone and Ms. Eramo, according to the Washington radio station WTOP. Recordings and transcripts will be made confidential.
Ms. Eramo is seeking nearly $8 million in damages from Rolling Stone, its parent company and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the article. A review of the article by the Columbia School of Journalism found a sweeping series of missteps, including a failure to verify Jackie’s account independently.
That is putting it mildly. Further investigation into Jackie’s claims later showed them to be completely false. Not only did she lie about the alleged gang-rape, the man she claimed was the ring-leader and her boyfriend, and the name of the man she claimed belonged her boyfriend, but she also lied about her friends’ reaction to her claims. Every aspect of her story appears to be false, which makes it curious that her attorneys would argue that requiring Jackie to testify would “retraumatize” her:
“Forcing her to revisit her sexual assault, and then the re-victimization that took place after the Rolling Stone article came out, will inevitably lead to a worsening of her symptoms and current mental health,” Jackie’s attorneys wrote, citing “extensive support in the medical literature” that shows “sexual assault victims will experience trauma if they are forced to revisit the details of their assault.”
In order to “retraumatize” someone they must first have experienced trauma. Jackie did not. Her story is discredited from beginning to end. Even the claim that something could have happened to her elsewhere does not parse because she has been shown to be a serial liar. It is unlikely Jackie was ever raped, and it is impossible that she was raped in the manner she described without there being some evidence of it.
Yet let us assume that she is a victim of some other assault. That does not give her a pass in this case. She lied. There is evidence showing that she lied. More importantly, her claims, particularly the version she told Rolling Stone magazine, are at the core of Eramo’s lawsuit. Eramo has every reason to want Jackie to testify. That evidence is key to the lawsuit.
The judge made the right call. This is not a matter of punishing Jackie. If it were, the deposition would be open to the public. At present, it is set to be sealed, rendering complaint about testifying moronic. No one but those in court will know what she states. The court system is protecting her, yet her attorneys continue to feel the need to complain.
I must admit I find the continued protection of Jackie bizarre. Again, her statements have been proven false. There is no question that her story is a lie. Why then seal her deposition? Why continue to protect her?