In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Charlottesville Police Capt. Gary Pleasants made clear that the department’s investigation into Rolling Stone’s allegations continues — and hasn’t proven that the “assault did not occur.”
The Rolling Stone story, titled “A Rape on Campus,” claimed that a freshman named Jackie was raped by seven men in September 2012 at the Phi Kappa Psi house. That local police and the university have cleared the fraternity comes as little surprise, given the debunking information that came out in the weeks after the story landed. As reported by The Washington Post, friends of Jackie’s who rushed to her aid on the night of the alleged assault said that she didn’t “specifically identify” a fraternity as the site of her assault.
The Columbia Journalism School is currently reviewing Rolling Stone’s work on the story. As this blog has pointed out, the issues with the piece merely begin with the gang-rape scenario and wind through many other issues of reporting, sourcing and writing.
After the publication of “A Rape on Campus,” U-Va. fraternity activities were suspended and interested parties began working to reform how alcohol is distributed at social functions. To diminish the chances that drugs will get dropped into drinks, the changes ban kegs, require “sober brother monitors” at parties and ban “pre-mixed drinks, punches, or any other common source of alcohol.”
Examples of actual journalism rarely land with such impact.