“We knew that the Rolling Stone story was not true,” said David Fontenot, 22, a senior from McLean, Va. But they also knew “that we would only make things more difficult by fighting it in the media and that our best move was to stay quiet, let the police do their jobs and ride it out until the time was appropriate.”

Phi Psi members, speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations surfaced, told The Washington Post that they went into hiding for weeks after their home was vandalized with spray-painted messages calling them rapists and with bricks thrown through windows. They booked hotel rooms to avoid the swarm of protesters on their front lawn. They watched as their brotherhood was vilified, coming to symbolize the worst episode of collegiate sexual violence against women since the 2006 Duke University lacrosse team scandal — which also turned out to be false…

He said that members of the fraternity began analyzing the article and quickly challenged troublesome assertions, including that the alleged gang rape was part of a hazing ritual at Phi Psi.

“That ritual part hit hard for everyone,” said Elias, who lived in the Phi Psi house his junior and senior years, including in fall 2012, when the attack was alleged to have occurred. “It assumes that everyone that is part of the frat had to do that, and that hurt a lot of us.”