'No Evidence' to Back Up UVA Fraternity Rape Allegations, Police Investigation Finds

The Charlottesville Police revealed the results of a rape investigation at UVA.

ByABC News
March 23, 2015, 3:38 PM

— -- Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, unveiled the results today of an investigation into an alleged rape at the University of Virginia and noted that authorities found "no evidence" that allegations detailed in a controversial Rolling Stone article in November 2014 were true.

Police said they were not able to conclude that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi house on Sept. 28, 2012.

"We have no evidence that supports those assertions" in the article, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said.

The woman, identified as "Jackie," alleged in the article that she was gang-raped by seven men at a UVA Phi Psi fraternity party in September 2012.

Police said today "we can't say something didn't happen" to her, but they have "no substantive basis" to conclude anything happened at Phi Psi.

During the investigation, police talked to about 70 people, including Jackie's friends and fraternity members, Longo said. Investigators talked to nine of the 11 Phi Psi members living in the house at the time, and none of them knew Jackie or had any knowledge of the alleged assault, Longo said.

Police also found no evidence that a party or event took place at Phi Psi on Sept. 28, 2012, noting that a time-stamped photo from that night shows the house practically empty, Longo said.

In January, a police investigation cleared Phi Psi of any involvement in the alleged rape and the fraternity was reinstated on campus.

Longo noted today that the case is not closed, but is suspended until they are able to gather more information.

It is a "disservice" to Jackie and the university, Longo said, to close the case without allowing the opportunity for additional information to come forward.

"There's no statute of limitations of this particular type of crime," Longo said, noting that Jackie declined to be questioned by police investigators.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement today that the investigation confirms what federal privacy law prohibited the university from sharing last fall: "That the University provided support and care to a student in need, including assistance in reporting potential criminal conduct to law enforcement. Chief Longo's report underscores what I have known since well before the publication of the Rolling Stone article: that we at the University are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all of our students."

After the article was published, the magazine quickly backpedaled on the story and Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana said the author of the feature, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not talk to any of the students involved in the alleged rape before publishing the story out of respect for Jackie.

"We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account," Dana wrote in a letter published on the magazine's website. "We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story."

In a series of tweets in December, Dana said, "We made a judgment -- the kind of judgement reporters and editors make every day. And in this case, our judgement was wrong."

"We should have either not made this agreement with Jackie ... or worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story," Dana continued. "That failure is on us -- not on her."

University President Teresa Sullivan also released a statement at the time, saying that university officials are "first and foremost concerned with the care and support of our students and, especially, any survivor of sexual assault."

The Columbia University Journalism School is also conducting a review of the Rolling Stone article and is expected to release its findings in the next few weeks.

Rolling Stone said in a statement today that the magazine "expects the Columbia Journalism School's report on 'A Rape on Campus' imminently and we will be publishing it in the next couple of weeks. The report will provide a thorough analysis of the editorial process surrounding this piece."

Erdley has not spoken. Jackie's attorney declined comment in response to today's news conference.

ABC News' Cleopatra Georghiou contributed to this report.