Four months after the publication of an infamous Rolling Stone piece depicting a violent gang rape at one of the University of Virginia's fraternities, and the magazine's subsequent retraction due to numerous inconsistencies and gross journalistic malpractice (see Philip Terzian's "A Credulous Press Feeds the PC Mob" from THE WEEKLY STANDARD's December 22, 2014 issue), the Charlottesville police department announced their investigation's findings this afternoon.
From the Associated Press:
"All I can tell you is that there is no substantive basis to conclude that what was reported in that article happened," Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said.
Longo said Jackie first described a sexual assault in May 2013 when she met with a dean about an academic issue, but "the sexual act was not consistent with what was described" in the Rolling Stone article. When she met with police, she didn't want them to investigate the alleged assault.
She also refused to talk to police after the article was printed in November and ignited the national conversation about sexual assaults on college campuses. Discrepancies in the article were found by news organizations soon after it was published.
Longo said the case is suspended, not closed. He said the fact that investigators could not find evidence "doesn't mean that something terrible didn't happen to Jackie."
Investigators spoke to about 70 people, including friends of the accuser and fraternity members, and spent hundreds of hours on the investigation, Longo said.
Several media outlets flocked to Charlottesville soon after the story was published to track down "Jackie," fraternity members, and friends of Jackie mentioned in the article.
The Washington Post was one of the first to report on the holes in the story:
A Post investigation into the claims found significant inconsistencies in the account. Phi Psi fraternity members strongly rebutted the allegations, saying they did not have a party on the night in question and did not have a member fitting the description of the alleged attacker; an alleged attacker — who Jackie told friends she was on a date with that night — turned out not to be a U-Va. student, had not been in Charlottesville in years, attends another school in another state, and said he barely knew Jackie; and Jackie’s friends told The Post that her version of events to the magazine did not match what they saw on the night she claims she was assaulted.
Not only did this person barely know Jackie, she reportedly used his picture as part of an elaborate catfishing ploy to make one of the friends mentioned in the article jealous. She allegedly created phone numbers and an email address and communicated with her friends pretending to be her new paramour.
From the Washington Times:
The friends said they believed that Jackie may have had a crush on Mr. Duffin but that he was interested only in friendship, and that the mystery upperclassman entered the picture shortly afterward.