Rolling Stone, fraternity agree to settle rape story lawsuit

Today Rolling Stone settled a defamation lawsuit brought by the fraternity where the magazine alleged the rape took place for $1.65 million.

A spokesman for the fraternity, Brian Ellis, said they are ready to move on.

"It has been almost three years since we and the entire University of Virginia community were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath", the fraternity chapter wrote in a statement.

When it was published in 2014, the Rolling Stone story briefly became exhibit A in the progressive push against "rape culture" on college campuses. The article drew widespread attention nearly instantly for its raw portrayal of fraternity culture run amok.

But by April of 2015, Rolling Stone was forced to completely retract the article. It had sought $25 million over the retracted story that detailed an alleged assault of a former student identified only as "Jackie". Eventually, the Columbia Journalism Review produced an extensively reported investigation of what went wrong. Since the 2014 article was released, numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the fraternity and members of the University of Virginia. The magazine's representatives declined comment to the AP except to say the settlement had just been reached and has not yet been entered in court.

Phi Kappa Psi did not return requests for comment by NBC News.

After the article's retraction, U-Va. administrator Nicole Eramo filed a lawsuit claiming that she was erroneously portrayed as callous and indifferent to Jackie's rape allegations. News outlets also began to question Jackie's story, and once again did not find any evidence to confirm her story. Rolling Stone admitted it never contacted the alleged rapists, and a police investigation later found no "evidence" of the alleged gang rape. The fraternity said that a "significant portion" of the settlement money would go to sexual-assault prevention and victim-counseling services.

  • Zachary Reyes