Discrepancies: U-Va. Rolling Stone alleged sexual assault

December 11, 2014

The obvious discrepancies between different versions of the now infamous UVA rape story will be much discussed. I’m not going through all of them, just a few I found particularly interesting for my own processing  of the different reports.

To kick that off, lest we forget, for whatever reason, Buzzfeed dropped this into the middle of the UVA story on the 5th and we haven’t heard more on it. It at least appears to be a significant thread left hanging.

Christopher Pivik, a former member of Phi Kappa Psi at the University of Virginia, has retained attorney Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer who has represented at least two dozen men found responsible for sexual misconduct at their colleges, BuzzFeed News has learned.


This below suggests Erdely couldn’t even get the most basic of facts correct. Timelines are almost always critical in any crime reporting. From the Post’s latest:

It was 1 a.m. on a Saturday when the call came. A friend, a University of Virginia freshman who earlier said she had a date that evening with a handsome junior from her chemistry class, was in hysterics. Something bad had happened.

From Rolling Stone’s original:

When Jackie came to, she was alone. It was after 3 a.m.

Rolling Stone: They all knew about Jackie’s date; the Phi Kappa Psi house loomed behind them.

WaPo: The three said Jackie did not specifically identify a fraternity that night.

Finally, there’s something very curious about this latest from the Post. It’s a Hell of a lot more vague than what you might expect from people looking to both set the record straight and defend themselves. Take this for example from Rolling Stone’s original. This Cindy is portrayed in a horrible light. If you were finally given a chance to go on record via another publication, don’t you think you might like to say something about having been characterized thus were it not accurate?

Their other two friends, however, weren’t convinced. “Is that such a good idea?” she recalls Cindy asking. “Her reputation will be shot for the next four years.” Andy seconded the opinion, adding that since he and Randall both planned to rush fraternities, they ought to think this through. The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie’s rape, while Jackie stood beside them, mute in her bloody dress, wishing only to go back to her dorm room and fall into a deep, forgetful sleep. Detached, Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.”

Yet, either because the Post never pursued it, or Cindy opted to not rebut it, or it was simply left out of the Post item, we’re left with a rather heinous characterization of a key player and no direct rebuttal – yet the Post claims to have spoken to Cindy.

I’m not saying the girl in question is the type of girl being portrayed. What I am saying is there seems to be a great deal more to learn about this story before we can  honestly say we know much of anything with absolute certainty. It was Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone’s job to tell this story accurately and clearly back in November. If nothing else is entirely certain even now almost a month down the road, what we can conclude is that they failed – and rather miserably at that.

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