U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said details about the alleged attackers in the November 2014 article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely were “too vague and remote” to make readers believe that the plaintiffs George Elias IV, Ross Fowler and Stephen Hadford had a role in the alleged rape.
“In the plaintiffs’ own words, ‘any apparent connection between the plaintiffs and the allegations is an (unfortunate) coincidence,'” Castel wrote.
He added that the plaintiffs had no connection to the rape described in the article, and were not named there.
Alan Frank, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said his clients will review their options, including a possible appeal. A lawyer for the defendants declined to comment.
The plaintiffs all graduated in 2013 and had been members of Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity at the center of Erdely’s article, “A Rape on Campus.”