A federal-court jury on Monday awarded $3 million to a former associate dean at the University of Virginia in her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine and one of its reporters, the Associated Press reports.
The same jury ruled on Friday that the magazine and the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, had defamed Nicole Eramo, now an administrator at UVa, in a 2014 article alleging that a student had been the victim of a gang rape at a fraternity and had been further victimized by the university’s indifferent response. The jury found that the magazine and the reporter had acted with actual malice, knowing the 9,000-word article, “A Rape on Campus,” was false and publishing it with reckless disregard.
Ms. Eramo said that the article, which Rolling Stone later retracted after devastating questions were raised about its veracity, had made her out to be a villain, ruining her reputation and undermining her work to help students who had been sexually assaulted. She had sought $7.5 million in her lawsuit.
Sitting in federal court in Charlottesville, Va., the jury ordered Ms. Erdely to pay Ms. Eramo $2 million and Rolling Stone to pay $1 million. Ms. Erdely appears to have been penalized more in part because of comments she made to the news media after her controversial article was published.
Rolling Stone’s publisher has covered Ms. Erdely’s legal expenses in the case, and will pay any penalties that hold up after a likely appeal. The magazine also faces a $25-million lawsuit filed by the fraternity where the gang rape is alleged to have occurred.