The radical feminist National Organization for Women is defending the former University of Virginia student whose false rape claims against a group of fraternity members appeared in a Rolling Stone article that is now the subject of a massive defamation lawsuit.
In an open letter published this week, NOW president Terry O’Neill called on UVA president Teresa Sullivan to intervene to stop Nicole Eramo, a dean at the school, from pushing forward with her lawsuit against Rolling Stone and its reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, for the Nov. 19, 2014 article “A Rape on Campus.”
Eramo filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Erdely last year. Besides faulting the magazine and the reporter for publishing the article without doing due diligence, Eramo’s attorneys assert in that the UVA student at the center of the piece — a woman named Jackie Coakley — is a “serial liar” who fabricated the assault in order to gain the attention of a man she was in love with. (RELATED: Lawsuit: UVA Student’s Crush On A Friend Was Root Of Fake Rolling Stone Gang Rape Story)
Besides the rape claim, Coakley allegedly lied about having a terminal illness. She also falsely posed as her own suitor — a UVA student she called “Haven Monahan” — as part of the scheme to gain the attention of her crush, an engineering student named Ryan Duffin.
Despite every suggestion that Coakley is lying about being raped, O’Neill contends in her open letter that the UVA dropout is a “sexual assault survivor.”
“We recently learned about deeply disturbing actions by one of your Deans against a sexual assault survivor and member of the UVA community,” O’Neill wrote in the letter.
“It is exactly this kind of victim blaming and shaming that fosters rape culture, re-victimizes those brave enough to have come forward, and silences countless other victims,” she continued, adding that Eramo’s demands “recite nearly every false argument made to undermine victims of sexual assault.”
Eramo has requested that Coakley turn over her emails and text messages with Erdely and others in order to show that Rolling Stone should have been more diligent about fact-checking the rape claims. The 9,000-word bombshell generated immediate outrage. But in the weeks after publication, Coakley’s story and Erdely’s reporting came under fire. Many details provided by Coakley did not match what she had told some of her friends at the time of the alleged assault. It also came to light that Erdely failed to obtain the names of the men that Coakley claimed raped her. The reporter also did not attempt to contact three friends who met Coakley on the night of the alleged rape.
Those friends came forward after the article was published and disputed nearly all of Coakley’s statements.
But O’Neill cares not about all of that damning evidence.
“We are writing to request that you put a stop to what we regard as a re-victimization of this young woman,” the feminist activist wrote Sullivan.
“In our view, the filings display a very troubling pattern of abuse towards ‘Jackie’, a woman profiled in that article, which cannot be allowed to continue.”
O’Neill expressed concern that Eramo’s lawsuit will have a chilling effect on women who are actually sexually assaulted.
“This has not only threatened ‘Jackie’s’ dignity and privacy, but also the dignity and privacy of numerous other student survivors on your campus,” wrote O’Neill, who characterized Eramo as “attacking” a “survivor” in Coakley.
“We do not see how students who experience sexual assault at UVA will be able to trust University officials tasked with protecting them if this conduct is allowed to continue,” O’Neill continues in her diatribe.
Sullivan has not yet responded to the letter. But her response is anyone’s guess. After the Rolling Stone article was published, Sullivan suspended all Greek life activity. She also declined to come to the defense of Eramo or of the fraternity that was falsely accused of taking part in gang rape.