Rolling Stone apologizes over account of UVA gang rape

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(CNN) -- Rolling Stone magazine apologized to readers Friday for a story it published chronicling one woman's account of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house and the school's failure to respond to that alleged assault.

The magazine editors made the choice not to contact the man who allegedly "orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her," a decision Rolling Stone says it now regrets.

"In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in (the woman's) account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced," Rolling Stone said.

The woman -- who Rolling Stone identified as Jackie, who then had just started her freshman year at the Charlottesville school -- claimed she was raped by seven men at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, while two more gave encouragement, during a party there.

Yet the University of Virginia's Phi Kappa Psi chapter did not have a party the night of September 28, 2012, the date when the reported attack occurred, the fraternity chapter's lawyer, Ben Warthen, told CNN. He said email records and Inter-fraternity Council records prove there was no party.

Warthen said there were other discrepancies in the accuser's account. For example, the orchestrator of the alleged rape did not belong to the fraternity, the fraternity house has no side staircase and there were no pledges at that time of year.

"It's not part of our culture," Warthen said. "It's just not true."

Rolling Stone's scathing report, detailing not just Jackie's graphic allegation of the gang rape at a fraternity party and the school's supposed indifference to those who are victims of sexual assault, stirred a firestorm on the University of Virginia campus.

At a recent emergency meeting of UVA's governing board, Rector George Keith Martin said, "To Jackie and her parents, I say I am sorry. To the survivors of sexual assault and their families, I am also sorry."

The board unanimously adopted a resolution affirming a zero-tolerance approach toward rape and sexual assault cases, though what exactly that means remains to be seen.

"This type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia," Martin said. "The status quo is no longer acceptable."

Official Statement from the Virginia Alpha Chapter at University of Virginia

Over the past two weeks the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi has been working tirelessly and openly with the Charlottesville Police Department as they investigate the allegations detailed in the November 19, 2014 Rolling Stone article. We continue to be shocked by the allegations and saddened by this story. We have no knowledge of these alleged acts being committed at our house or by our members. Anyone who commits any form of sexual assault, wherever or whenever, should be identified and brought to justice.

In tandem with the Charlottesville Police Department’s investigation, the Chapter’s undergraduate members have made efforts to contribute with internal fact-finding. Our initial doubts as to the accuracy of the article have only been strengthened as alumni and undergraduate members have delved deeper. Given the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation, which we fully support, we do not feel it would be appropriate at this time to provide more than the following:

First, the 2012 roster of employees at the Aquatic and Fitness Center does not list a Phi Kappa Psi as a lifeguard. As far as we have determined, no member of our fraternity worked there in any capacity during this time period.

Second, the Chapter did not have a date function or a social event during the weekend of September 28th, 2012.

Third, our Chapter's pledging and initiation periods, as required by the University and Inter-Fraternity Council, take place solely in the spring semester and not in the fall semester. We document the initiation of new members at the end of each spring. Moreover, no ritualized sexual assault is part of our pledging or initiation process. This notion is vile, and we vehemently refute this claim.

It is our hope that this information will encourage people who may know anything relevant to this case to contact the Charlottesville Police Department as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to assist investigators in whatever way we can.