campus sexual assault

Police Find No Evidence to Support Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story

The Rotunda at UVA. Photo: David Sailors/Corbis

Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, said Monday that their investigation into the alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity uncovered no evidence to support claims made by a student known as “Jackie” in a November 2014 Rolling Stone article. During their five-month investigation, they spoke to about 70 people and uncovered numerous discrepancies in Jackie’s story. “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,” Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said at a press 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.”

Police met with Jackie several times, and she had a lawyer present when she talked with them in December. She would not provide any information about the rape that allegedly occurred on September 28, 2012 and made it clear that she did not want to speak with officers again. They found no evidence that Phi Kappa Psi hosted a party that night, and other details did not match the version of events presented in Rolling Stone. Two of Jackie’s friends said they met her following an alleged assault, but the location of the meeting did not match Jackie’s account, and they did not recall her having any physical injuries. 

Police were also unable to identify Jackie’s alleged attacker, a Phi Kappa Psi brother who took her on a date that night. The phone number for “Haven Monahan,” the man who exchanged texts with Jackie’s friends prior to the date, traced back to a Google phone number with no subscriber information. No one by that name worked with Jackie at the university pool, and after investigating a pool employee who was in another frat, police determined that he had no connection to the case.

Jackie had contacted police months before the Rolling Stone article was published, regarding a physical assault that allegedly took place in April 2014. In the magazine, the incident was referred to as “payback” for speaking publicly about sexual assaults on campus. “This past spring, in separate incidents, both Emily Renda and Jackie were harassed outside bars on the Corner by men who recognized them from presentations and called them ‘cunt’ and ‘feminazi bitch,’” wrote Rolling Stone’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely. “One flung a bottle at Jackie that broke on the side of her face, leaving a blood-red bruise around her eye.” Chief Longo said Jackie claimed her roommate helped pick glass from her face, but the roommate denied that and told police the injury was an abrasion. Jackie told police she had called her mother around the time of the attack, but phone records did not corroborate that claim.

Rolling Stone announced yesterday that it will publish its own independent investigation next month. Chief Longo said the police investigation is suspended for now, but it is not closed “by any stretch of the imagination.” “I can’t prove that something didn’t happen, and there may come a point in time in which this survivor, or this complaining party or someone else, may come forward with some information that might help us move this investigation further,” he said. 

Police: No Evidence to Support UVA Rape Story