Police Find No Evidence of Gang Rape at UVA Fraternity

AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Ryan M. Kelly
AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Ryan M. Kelly
Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville police announced the results of their investigation into an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house in 2012. Police say they have no proof the incident occurred and note that the woman who made the accusation has refused to cooperate.

Chief Timothy J. Longo confirmed earlier reports that the fraternity in question, Phi Kappa Psi, did not host a party the night the alleged victim, known by the pseudonym Jackie, claims she was raped during a house party. In addition, Charlottesville police were unable to locate the student who took Jackie on a date before luring her back to the house where the gang rape allegedly took place.

Perhaps the most significant revelation of all is that, despite meeting with her several times, Jackie refused to aid the police or to add anything which might help police uncover what happened.

An investigation by the Washington Post last December revealed a possible alternative explanation for the discrepancies. Jackie had been interested in a romantic relationship with a friend and fellow student whose real name is Ryan. It was only a few days after Ryan expressed no interest in dating Jackie that she began talking up a handsome upperclassman she had met in chemistry class. When Jackie’s friends (including Ryan) became intrigued, she gave them a phone number which would allow them to text the mystery man.

The mystery upperclassman talked Jackie up and sent photos to Jackie’s friends but none of them ever met him in person. The Post discovered the photos in question were not of a UVA student at all but were of a former high school classmate of Jackie’s. Contacted by the Post, the former classmate confirmed the photos appeared to be taken from his social media accounts and claimed he had not been in contact with Jackie and did not even know her well in high school.

The Washington Times added to the Post‘s reporting when it revealed that the phone numbers Jackie gave her friends, the ones supposedly for her upperclassman date, had been set up on Pinger. Pinger is a site which allows users to set up free texting using a laptop or desktop computer.

Jackie went on her date with the mysterious upperclassman and then later that night called her friends, including Ryan, for support. They met her outdoors and she described a sexual assault which was significantly different from the one she told later to a reporter from Rolling Stone. Her friends said Jackie appeared genuinely upset but not seriously injured. They did not meet her at the fraternity where the incident allegedly took place.

One of the strangest incidents in the entire story happened after the alleged gang rape. A few days later, the mysterious upperclassman once again texted Jackie’s friend Ryan to pass on some praise Jackie had supposedly given him during their date. There was no mention of the party or the alleged attack.

The UVA gang rape story became national news after Rolling Stone magazine published a lengthy and graphic story about it last November. In the article, Jackie claimed she was lured to a fraternity house after a date with one of the fraternity’s members where she was raped by a group of men after being shoved to the ground through a glass table. The story was pointed to by activists as an example of “rape culture” which supposedly exists on campuses across the country.

After bloggers began to question details of the story, Rolling Stone‘s editors realized the author had never spoken to Jackie’s alleged attacker. The magazine publicly retracted the story and promised to do its own internal investigation of what happened.

Despite apparently confirming the reporting done by the Washington Post, the Charlottesville Police intend to keep the case open.