Police investigation concludes 'no evidence' of UVA frat gang-rape

Charlottesville, VA police have issued a report on their extensive investigation into allegations that several members of a fraternity on the University of Virginia campus gang-raped a young woman at a party in 2012.

The shocking allegations were chronicled in Rolling Stone magazine, who later retracted much of the woman's story following an investigation by the Washington Post.

The police could find no evidence of a gang-rape and concluded that there was no party at the fraternity that night, nor could they find anybody matching the description of the woman's alleged attacker.

Washington Post:

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo on Monday afternoon said the police department had multiple meetings with “Jackie” — the woman who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party — and that she declined to speak about the alleged incident or provide any information about it. Numerous lines of inquiry yielded evidence that the fraternity did not have a party the night of the alleged attack, and police were unable to find anyone matching the description of the alleged attacker.

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

The announcement came after a five-month investigation spurred by allegations of a brutal fraternity house gang-rape described in a 9,000-word magazine account that went viral online in November. The Rolling Stone report unraveled under scrutiny, as the accuser’s version of events was publicly challenged by her friends, members of the fraternity and sexual assault advocates on campus. After Washington Post reports revealed flaws in the account, Rolling Stone’s editors backed away from it.

Longo’s statement was the first official discrediting of the account, but he said he would keep the investigation open in case witnesses wanted to come forward with anything that might lead police to any information about an attack.

[Read the Charlottesville Police Department's investigative report.]

The Rolling Stone article examined allegations of sexual assault at U-Va. and what it characterized as the administration’s apparent lackluster response; the article fueled an ongoing national debate about the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses. The article focused on a junior named Jackie who told the pop culture magazine that she was attacked by seven men during a party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in 2012 after she went on a date with one of the men.

This incident has set back the cause of battling sexual assault not only on campus, but everywhere.  No, there is not an "epidemic" of sexual assaults on campus, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think it's a problem.  Date rape drugs are real.  So are parties where drunk girls are taken advantage of.  Alcohol fuels much of this, but it's no excuse for men behaving as beasts.

The "he said, she said" kind of sexual assault is a separate issue.  Whom to believe?  Activists want authorities to believe the woman 100% of the time.  If a woman cries "rape," her partner should be prosecuted.  Since most sexual encounters are not recorded, it stands to reason that the lives of many men will be ruined if that becomes the standard by which rape cases are handled.  Even an acquittal of the accused male would ruin his life and mark him as a sexual predator.

We will probably never know if "Jackie" was so traumatized by the assault that she can't remember details clearly, or if she was simply seeking attention and made the story up.  The damage has been done, however, and the very real problem of sexual assault has taken a hit.

Charlottesville, VA police have issued a report on their extensive investigation into allegations that several members of a fraternity on the University of Virginia campus gang-raped a young woman at a party in 2012.

The shocking allegations were chronicled in Rolling Stone magazine, who later retracted much of the woman's story following an investigation by the Washington Post.

The police could find no evidence of a gang-rape and concluded that there was no party at the fraternity that night, nor could they find anybody matching the description of the woman's alleged attacker.

Washington Post:

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo on Monday afternoon said the police department had multiple meetings with “Jackie” — the woman who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party — and that she declined to speak about the alleged incident or provide any information about it. Numerous lines of inquiry yielded evidence that the fraternity did not have a party the night of the alleged attack, and police were unable to find anyone matching the description of the alleged attacker.

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

The announcement came after a five-month investigation spurred by allegations of a brutal fraternity house gang-rape described in a 9,000-word magazine account that went viral online in November. The Rolling Stone report unraveled under scrutiny, as the accuser’s version of events was publicly challenged by her friends, members of the fraternity and sexual assault advocates on campus. After Washington Post reports revealed flaws in the account, Rolling Stone’s editors backed away from it.

Longo’s statement was the first official discrediting of the account, but he said he would keep the investigation open in case witnesses wanted to come forward with anything that might lead police to any information about an attack.

[Read the Charlottesville Police Department's investigative report.]

The Rolling Stone article examined allegations of sexual assault at U-Va. and what it characterized as the administration’s apparent lackluster response; the article fueled an ongoing national debate about the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses. The article focused on a junior named Jackie who told the pop culture magazine that she was attacked by seven men during a party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in 2012 after she went on a date with one of the men.

This incident has set back the cause of battling sexual assault not only on campus, but everywhere.  No, there is not an "epidemic" of sexual assaults on campus, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think it's a problem.  Date rape drugs are real.  So are parties where drunk girls are taken advantage of.  Alcohol fuels much of this, but it's no excuse for men behaving as beasts.

The "he said, she said" kind of sexual assault is a separate issue.  Whom to believe?  Activists want authorities to believe the woman 100% of the time.  If a woman cries "rape," her partner should be prosecuted.  Since most sexual encounters are not recorded, it stands to reason that the lives of many men will be ruined if that becomes the standard by which rape cases are handled.  Even an acquittal of the accused male would ruin his life and mark him as a sexual predator.

We will probably never know if "Jackie" was so traumatized by the assault that she can't remember details clearly, or if she was simply seeking attention and made the story up.  The damage has been done, however, and the very real problem of sexual assault has taken a hit.