University dean suing Rolling Stone seeks text messages

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2016 5:37 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Lawyers for a University of Virginia dean who's suing Rolling Stone magazine are asking a judge to force the subject of a debunked article about an alleged gang rape on campus to reveal text messages and other communications in the case, saying it would expose the woman as a "serial liar."

Attorneys for Associate Dean Nicole Eramo, who's seeking more than $7.5 million in damages from the magazine, said in recent court filings that the woman referred to only as "Jackie" in the November 2014 article should have to turn over the documents because there's no evidence that the alleged assault occurred, The Richmond Times Dispatch reports (bit.ly/1RssyiB).

That would "require Jackie to admit that her concern is not being outed as a victim of sexual assault, but rather being exposed as a serial liar who invented people, events and text messages," attorneys for Eramo wrote.

Eramo sued Rolling Stone in May, saying she was cast as the "chief villain" in the discredited piece in her role as the top administrator dealing with sexual assaults at the Charlottesville school.

An investigation by Charlottesville police found no evidence to back up Jackie's claims that she had been raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in September 2012. Rolling Stone retracted the article and the magazine's managing editor and article's author both apologized.

Eramo's attorneys said they want Jackie to hand over her communications with the associate dean, other university officials and the magazine's author, among other things.

Jackie's lawyers blasted Eramo in court documents, saying Jackie shouldn't have to disclose private information because she's not a party to the lawsuit and should be protected as a victim of an alleged sexual assault.

"What is tragic about this case is that Dean Eramo apparently believes she can rehabilitate her reputation by attacking a student she herself counseled and whom she referred to support groups and additional counseling following her report of sexual assault," the woman's attorneys wrote.

The National Organization for Woman has called on University President Teresa Sullivan to intervene and put a stop to what they call the "re-victimization" of Jackie.

"Your dean's demands recite nearly every false argument made to undermine victims of sexual assault. It is exactly this kind of victim blaming and shaming that fosters rape culture, re-victimizes those brave enough to come forward, and silences countless other victims," NOW President Terry O'Neill said in a letter to Sullivan.

University officials declined to comment.

An attorney for Rolling Stone didn't immediately return an emailed request on Saturday for comment.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com