Yesterday John wrote about the settlement between Rolling Stone magazine and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia. It was the result of the widely touted gang rape allegedly suffered by the still (generally) pseudonymous “Jackie” at the hands of the frat brothers. In his conclusion, John wrote the following:
This brings Rolling Stone’s legal problems over the story to a close.
Perhaps. I’m sure that the $1.6M went some ways toward assuaging the injured parties at the fraternity and it might (with a major emphasis on the “might” portion) have taught Rolling Stone a smidgen of a lesson about checking their sources more closely and not prioritizing a social agenda over the facts. Still, one might believe that there were a lot more debts to be settled here. The Boss Emeritus has an article at National Review this week in which she points out that Sabrina Erdely was involved in many more questionable cases. And it’s not just her. Both the campus kangaroo court system and too many judicial actors are culpable as well.
Too few journalists are willing to challenge the corruption of the criminal-justice system in their backyards. Politicized police departments and pro-prosecution courts have failed to uphold the constitutional rights of the accused. The wheels of justice grind far too slowly for the falsely defamed and falsely convicted, fighting for their reputations or for their lives behind bars. Juries need to send louder messages and impose strong deterrents against rape fakers and their propagandists.
Make them pay. Big time.
I don’t disagree, but I would take it one step further. Malkin makes reference to the real source of the problem here but we need to call her out by name. The real damage to the members of the fraternity has not been addressed and, far more importantly, the real culprit who was the cause of those damages in the first place hasn’t been held to account one bit.
The fact is that Rolling Stone would never have had the opportunity to lay the frat low had it not been for the person who caused all of this trouble in the first place. And that person is Jackie herself. She defamed numerous people, ruined lives and, at least in some ways, caused damage to Rolling Stone. Far worse than that, by perpetuating the “campus rape culture” myth in such an ugly , high profile fashion, she damaged the credibility and future court prospects for actual victims of horrible sexual assaults.
Where is the accountability on that end? There were obviously false reports given to the police. Last time I checked that was a crime. The allegations she made defamed the accused and not one shred of evidence has been presented to substantiate those claims in the least. I understand that we live in a culture where the idea of “prosecuting the victim” is a touchstone of liberal journalism. It’s unthinkable to go after a rape victim in court, right? But what about when they aren’t a victim at all? At what point does the umbrella of protection provided to real victims fall away and allow the hoaxer to be held to account?
This was a big enough case to merit a fresh look at this question. Bring “Jackie” out of the shadows and let’s see if criminal charges are called for or financial remuneration to the wrongly accused justified.