Three UVA Grads Sue Rolling Stone Over Retracted Rape Article

A student walks across the Lawn in front of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. in 2013. Steve Helber / AP file

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By Phil Helsel

Three members of a University of Virginia fraternity caught up in a firestorm of criticism over a since-retracted Rolling Stone article alleging a sexual assault have filed a lawsuit against the publication and its author.

The three UVA graduates say in the complaint filed in federal court Wednesday that they were humiliated and mocked after they were presumed to be participants in an alleged sexual assault that was the centerpiece of the story.

They were not identified by the since-discredited article, but information in the story led to them being identified online as participants in the alleged attack, the lawsuit claims.

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The three men suffered "vicious and hurtful attacks" in the aftermath of the article, the lawsuit says. Online, "plaintiffs' names will forever be associated with the alleged gang rape," the lawsuit claims.

They are suing Rolling Stone, author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and the company that publishes Rolling Stone, Wenner Media. A dollar amount is not specified in the court documents, other than to say the suit seeks more than $75,000.

Rolling Stone declined to comment on the suit.

The Rolling Stone article published in November detailed an alleged brutal gang rape of a UVA student named "Jackie" at a fraternity house.

Questions were raised about the validity of the account, and Rolling Stone retracted the article entirely by April. The retraction was made after an independent report found that the magazine violated "basic, even routine journalistic practice."

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have said they had "no basis to conclude that anything happened at that fraternity house."

In May, University of Virginia Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo, who was portrayed in the article, filed a $7.8 million lawsuit against Rolling Stone, Erdely and Wenner Media.