Thanks to a current lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine, more information about the UVA accuser Jackie Coakley made news. According to current reports, Coakley concocted a fake persona and lied about the gang rape in order to woo one of her male friends (one of the young men she later claimed told her not to seek help after she was “raped”):
In the filing, Eramo’s lawyers submitted new data from Yahoo concerning an e-mail account linked to “Haven Monahan,” the man Jackie identified to friends as the perpetrator of her assault. An investigation by the Charlottesville Police revealed that no person by that name has ever been a student at U-Va., and Eramo’s lawyers have presented evidence in court documents indicating that he is a figment of Jackie’s imagination.
Ryan Duffin, a student who knew Jackie at U-Va., told The Washington Post that he believed that the character was created by Jackie in an effort to attract Duffin’s romantic interest, a tactic known as “catfishing.”
Catfishing is when a person creates a fake persona online. It is sometimes used to trick another person into a romantic relationship, usually directly, but in this instance it was an attempt at causing jealously. It did not work. It appears that Duffin had no interest in Coakley. However, that did not stop the latter from trying:
The data from Yahoo that Eramo’s lawyers acquired via subpoena shows that the e-mail account “Haven.email@example.com” was created on Oct. 2, 2012 while connected to U-Va.’s computer network. The next day, Duffin received an e-mail from “Haven” passing on a letter Jackie had written to “Haven” about Duffin. In the letter, Jackie confesses her love for Duffin.
If this sounds completely bizarre, it should. This is not normal. This is stalking behavior disguised as social media mischief. Had it ended with the fake persona, one could let this pass. It is deceptive to go through all of these machinations in order to trick someone into a date, but it ultimately does little harm.
Making a false accusation of rape takes it to a different level.
Nevertheless, had it remained something between Coakley and her friends, it still would not have presented a problem. Once Rolling Stone published the story and failed to fact-check any part of it, that is when it went well beyond reason. It is one thing for campus anti-rape activists to peddle the lie they believe is true. It is another thing for a major magazine to run an unsourced story that results in dozens of schools altering their policies on the assumption that scores of college women (only women) face gang rape in fraternities.
Coakley went into hiding after media investigations determined her story was false. She did not cooperate with police attempting to investigate her claims either. So it comes as no surprise that she refused to hand over information for the civil suit against Rolling Stone:
After filing the lawsuit, Eramo’s lawyers asked Jackie and her legal team to hand over all documents in their possession related to “Haven.” In multiple responses, Jackie’s lawyers wrote that they had already given Eramo’s legal team everything they had.
“We have taken the necessary and appropriate steps to collect, maintain and produce documents consistent with our discovery obligations,” wrote Rebecca Anzidei, one of Jackie’s lawyers from the Stein Mitchell Muse Cipollone & Beato law firm. “To be clear, Respondent is not withholding any responsive documents relating to the category identified in your letter.”
In the most recent court filing, Eramo’s lawyers note, however, that the data from Yahoo shows that someone on the Stein Mitchell law firm’s network accessed the Haven.Monahan@yahoo.com e-mail address on March 18, 2016. Four days later, Eramo’s lawyers assert in court filings, Jackie’s lawyers sent another letter indicating “that Jackie was not in possession of these emails.”
Jackie’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
In the new court filing, Eramo’s lawyers write that the data from Yahoo leads to “only one logical conclusion: Jackie is ‘Haven Monahan.'”
No one has access to this account, yet someone accessed it six days ago? More specifically, they accessed it from the law firm’s network. We know Haven Monahan does not exist, so who accessed the account? Unless Coakley’s team intends to argue that Monahan does exist and came to their offices to explain himself, someone from that firm or Coakley herself accessed the account.
Here is where it gets tricky: lying in this manner may be illegal. Certainly withholding evidence is a violation of legal protocol. The firm or Coakley could be held in contempt and fined for this deception. More so, criminal charges could stem from this if the resulting evidence demonstrates that Coakley indeed created a fake persona. That would be the evidence the police need to charge her with filing a false report of rape.
I doubt Coakley will face any charges. For reasons that still make little sense, no one seems to want to hold her accountable for her actions. People still treat her like a victim despite the clear evidence she lied. The argument now is that she is “troubled”, which is another way of absolving her of responsibility for her actions. Even if she does suffer from a mental disturbance, that does not excuse years of lying about a gang rape and feeding that lie to major magazine.
This is a person who deserves to be punished for what she did because of the widespread repercussion of her actions. Had it stayed on campus, within the feminist-driven anti-rape circle, it would not have mattered. Once this lie was used across the country to vilify college men and fraternities, along with peddling the sexist conspiracy theory of “rape culture”, Coakley lost the chance to get a pass.
There must be a consequence for lying on this scale. People have to know that as a society we will not tolerate playing this sort of game with people’s lives. We are lucky that no one named “Haven Monahan” exists. We are lucky that the student whose picture Coakley used could prove where he was during the fake gang rape. We are lucky that the Washington Post and other media outlets decided to ask Coakley’s friends what happened between them and her. If any of these things were not the case, potentially two innocent men could be in prison and three other people’s names would be smeared because Coakley had a crush on some guy.