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UVA Dean Nicole Eramo Sues Rolling Stone for $7.85M Over 'Jackie' Rape Story

Nicole Eramo, the school’s associate dean of students, says she was made "the villain" in the story.
Image: University of Virginia
The heart of the campus at University of Virginia in Charlottesville.Dan Addison / U. Va. Public Affairs

A University of Virginia dean who was portrayed in the discredited Rolling Stone article about a gang rape filed a $7.8 million defamation lawsuit on Tuesday against the magazine and the writer of the story.

Nicole Eramo, the school’s associate dean of students, filed the suit in Charlottesville. It says that Eramo was cast in the article as “the villain.” The suit lists Rolling Stone, writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Wenner Media, which publishes the magazine, as defendants.

“I am filing this defamation lawsuit to set the record straight — and to hold the magazine and the author of the article accountable for their actions in a way they have refused to do themselves,” Eramo said in a statement provided by her lawyer.

In the article, the student known as “Jackie” asks Eramo for details about sexual assault at the university. “Jackie” quotes Eramo as saying the statistics were not public “because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.”

The suit lists it as among a litany of false and defamatory mentions of Eramo in the article.

Rolling Stone retracted the article last month after a devastating report by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism found that it violated “basic, even routine journalistic practice.”

The suit seeks at least $7.5 million in compensatory damages, at least $350,000 in punitive damages and attorney fees.

A spokeswoman for Wenner Media and Rolling Stone declined comment.

The university expressed support for the dean: “The University of Virginia previously stated that the Rolling Stone article is an example of irresponsible journalism, which has damaged the reputation of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia. Dean Eramo is well within her rights to pursue this private legal action.”


— Katie Wall and Erin McClam