The University of Virginia student whose fantastical tale of fraternity gang-rape captivated the country until it was exposed as fraudulent will have to testify as part of a lawsuit against the magazine that printed the story.
U.Va.'s "Jackie"* will be deposed for at least three-and-a-half hours by lawyers for Nicole Eramo, the assistant dean of students at the university. Rolling Stone, which printed Jackie's claims, will also be allowed to depose the former student for three-and-a-half hours.
Judge Glen Conrad, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia, dismissed Jackie's lawyer's claims that their client was still a "victim" of a sexual assault and ordered the young woman to testify. Jackie's lawyers had previously tried to quash the deposition, claiming it would cause her "significant and undeniable psychological harm."
Eramo's lawyers had requested additional time to depose Jackie, since they would be sharing their allotted seven hours with Rolling Stone. Conrad has granted some additional time — Eramo's lawyers can depose Jackie for five hours divided over a 2-day period. If Team Eramo doesn't believe that is enough time, it can petition the court for additional time ahead of the deposition.
Jackie will testify at a "mutually convenient location," but will be granted priority in the decision on where the deposition will take place. The deposition's format will be designated by Eramo and her attorneys, but the questions will be limited to those outlined during a hearing on the matter.
Sadly, we likely won't know what is said during this deposition, as Conrad ordered "all recordings and transcripts of the deposition [to] be marked as confidential." In addition, a declaration from Jackie's psychologist will be filed under seal, and the psychologist will not be deposed or subjected to discovery, although Conrad has allowed for reconsideration of this ruling "if changed circumstances so warrant."
"Jackie was Rolling Stone's sole source for the false tale of rape that it recklessly published. There were numerous red flags in Jackie's account, which should have put Rolling Stone on notice that she was not a credible source for information," Eramo's attorney, Libby Locke, told CNN. "Nevertheless, Rolling Stone was dead set on portraying Dean Eramo as a callous administrator who discouraged Jackie from reporting an assault to police — when in fact, it appears that Jackie knew that her tale of rape would not have stood up under real scrutiny and investigation."
She added: "Had Rolling Stone done the fact-checking and digging that they were legally and ethically required to do as journalists, Dean Eramo would not have been so wrongfully targeted."
Eramo sued Jackie after Rolling Stone portrayed the U.Va. administrator as callous toward students who claimed they were sexually assaulted. Jackie claimed she had been gang-raped as part of a fraternity initiation during her freshman year, but her story unraveled when it was discovered the man she accused of taking her to the party didn't even exist. Police also determined there was no evidence to suggest the assault took place.
Members of the fraternity and the fraternity chapter itself are also suing Rolling Stone. None of the plaintiffs are suing Jackie directly.
*I will not provide Jackie's last name because it does not appear in the court documents relating to this case.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.