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Jackie alleged that she was gang raped by a fraternity at the University of Virginia in 2012. The story was published in 2014 and was promptly retracted a few months later after Jackie’s claims had been debunked.
Now, according to the Washington Post, it’s been confirmed that the suspect behind the assault, Haven Monahan, does not exist and was never a student at UVA.
Lawyers for associate dean Nicole Eramo, who is suing Rolling Stone for defamation and seeking millions in damages, say images previously released of Monahan turned out to be photos of one of Jackie’s high school classmates. That classmate claims he barely knew her and is attending a university in a different state altogether.
Monahan had also emailed a love interest of Jackie’s named Ryan Duffin prior to the debunked incident. Correspondences between the two appear to show Monahan’s preoccupation with Jackie’s love life. He even passed on a note Jackie wrote confessing that she had a crush on Duffin.
In essence, Duffin was being catfished by the person in control of Monahan’s email account.
The debunked story eventually brought on a professional audit from the Columbia School of Journalism. Rolling Stone has also been served with multiple lawsuits, including Eramo’s suit.
Eramo alleges that she had been painted in a negative light in the Sabrina Rubin Erderly-penned piece for the magazine.
According to data from Yahoo, the email address for the nonexistent Haven Monahan can be traced to a UVA computer and had been accessed by Jackie’s legal team prior to Eramo’s case going to trial. The exchanges put an alarming twist on a case that has rocked UVA since “A Rape On Campus” was published.
Eramo’s legal team is seeking additional correspondences between Jackie and Rolling Stone. Further information may surface, as this case is far from over.
H/T Washington Post
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.