The central figure in a discredited Rolling Stone account of a gang-rape at the University of Virginia has been ordered to take part in a deposition for a federal libel lawsuit filed against the magazine by an associate dean at the school, the first time she’ll give a sworn statement about her allegations.
U.S. District Court Judge Glen E. Conrad has ordered the former U-Va. student known as “Jackie” to participate in interviews related to the $10 million lawsuit U-Va. associate dean Nicole Eramo has filed against the magazine. Eramo alleges that Rolling Stone published a false and libelous account that smeared the dean as being callous and indifferent to Jackie’s sexual assault allegations.
The magazine retracted the 2014 article, called “A Rape on Campus,” after an investigation by The Washington Post, later confirmed by the Charlottesville Police Department and the Columbia Journalism School, found that the account of Jackie’s alleged rape was deeply flawed. In interviews with The Post, Jackie said she stood by her story.
Lawyers representing Jackie filed motions seeking to cancel the scheduled deposition, stating that the proceeding could “re-traumatize” her if she were forced to describe elements of her alleged assault. Eramo’s lawyers have said in court papers that Jackie fabricated her account and was never a victim of the attack she detailed.
Conrad ruled that the deposition will take place Thursday with another federal judge, Joel Hoppe, presiding over the proceedings. The judge also granted requests by Jackie’s lawyers to keep the location of the deposition secret and to place under seal her comments during the under-oath proceedings. CNN Money first reported the new order.
During a court appearance on Monday, Conrad ruled that lawyers representing Eramo may ask Jackie to confirm under oath if she continues to stand by the account she gave to Rolling Stone in an effort to identify inconsistencies in her story, according to a transcript of the hearing. But the judge ruled that Eramo’s lawyers cannot ask Jackie to recount specifics of the alleged assault, stating that the details are not necessarily relevant to the case.
Jackie has never testified under oath about the alleged attack and never reported it to police, declining to speak to investigators both before and after the Rolling Stone story published. She gave similar accounts of a gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity to Rolling Stone and to The Post and has not publicly backed off her claims.