Rolling Stone’s Bumbling UVA Rape Detective And The Vexing Case Of The Dead Flamingos

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Most everyone in the United States has at some point encountered Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. One short story, “Silver Blaze,” involves a dog that didn’t bark. Spoiler alert: Detective Sherlock Holmes solves the case by realizing a dog didn’t bark because the dog recognized the murderer.

Holmes’s legwork is profoundly applicable to disgraced journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s whopper of a Rolling Stone story claiming at least five members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter at the University of Virginia gang-raped — and punched in celebration — a freshman named Jackie at a party at their frat house on Sept. 28, 2012.

Erdely has asserted the frat members abandoned Jackie at the frat house in a bloodstained dress after this horrific ordeal ended. Jackie then ostensibly left via a conveniently vacant side staircase. And not a soul barked.

Erdely’s story has now fallen apart nearly completely. The Washington Post suggests Jackie fabricated huge swathes of her gory rape tale, and that the imaginative reporter failed to properly investigate it. (RELATED: UVA Gang-Rape Accuser’s Friend Shares New Details In Interview)

As other astute observers have already pointed out, much barking would certainly have happened that night if a rape occurred. Jackie said neither she nor her friends contacted police out of concern for their social standing. That’s absurd, but what about other partygoers — particularly women? They must have been there. A frat party without women around is a mortifying sausage fest. Yet not one single woman at the party spotted Jackie — bloodstained as Erdely claims she was — and reported the odd sight to any authority.

Those points are good ones, but here’s an even better one: How is it remotely conceivable that none of the alleged rape participants came forward? How could they possibly have assuaged their guilt-wracked consciences for two years?

For Erdely’s and Jackie’s pulp fiction to be true, the men involved would all have to be psychopaths capable of terrifying barbarism and conspiring to keep quiet about it. Those are rare criminal qualities.

Further, all these odious men would need to meet in the first place. First, they would need to manage to gain admittance to the prestigious University of Virginia (no small feat for anyone, let alone a handful of hardened deviants). Then, these villainous thugs would be required to join the same fraternity coincidentally in order to conspire to rape Jackie as part of what Erdely suggests may possibly be a routine frat ritual.

All the while, none of these men, and none of their frat brothers and no one to whom they might have bragged could have reported this shocking crime to the Charlottesville police. (Nor could any of these sadistic, psychopathic criminals have gotten arrested for any other crime over two years and attempted to cop a lesser charge by selling out their frat brothers.)

While every bit of Erdely’s account is painfully, mind-bogglingly absurd on its face, imagine for a moment it is true.

Let’s set the stage.

First, we have the organizer of the rape event. Erdely says he is a junior named “Drew” who belongs to Phi Psi. “Drew” supposedly took Jackie back to his fraternity house after calmly going on a date with her. Meanwhile, half a dozen other men were waiting quietly and patiently in a dark room, like rape ninjas, to consummate a gang-rape initiation ritual.

This sort of event would take immense planning.

“Listen up, brothers,” Drew would have needed to announce at the rape logistics meeting. “I have arranged to have a woman arrive at the house on Friday for our big gang rape. Taylor, Jared, Connor, Biff and Cody: You will all be committing this felony that could ruin your lives if you get busted. You’ll wait silently until I usher the victim into a pre-selected room.”

And that particular wait would have been hell, right? How did these guys pass the time? Did they chat about rapes of yore? Did they mutely play with their mobile phones in the pitch-black room until the moment of raping arrived? Who went first? Was the guy who had to go fifth in some kind of trouble?

In any event, Erdely maintains that, when the spectacular rape moment at last arrived, a group of Phi Psi members raped Jackie on a glass table. One rapist used a bottle, she said. “Drew” and another man watched for a very long time and enthusiastically provided helpful rape instruction.

Finally, recall Erdely’s suggestion that the rape was an initiation, which suggests this kind of thing is institutionalized among the members of Phi Kappa Psi — a group of men whose founding creed speaks of “a brotherhood of honorable men,” “moral and spiritual excellence” and a duty of each member “to strengthen my character and deepen my integrity.”

Could anyone who swears such an oath plausibly commit such a crime? How about seven of them? Would they really expect to avoid prosecution until Erdely came along with her wildly implausible, 9,000-word, agenda-driven excuse for journalism?

Erdely would have readers believe as much. And, she would have us believe, not one Phi Psi member barked. Not one frat guy felt so bad about what he had done that he reported the crime to the police — even in some anonymous way.

Among the heinous assumptions here is that gang rape is a thing normal males will participate in.

Quite obviously, this assumption is wrong. Rapists are rare. Even many people who are rapists would likely frown at a brutal gang rape. Everyone has limits. The subset of American men who would participate in a brutal gang rape is infinitesimally small. And even of that miniscule subset, some percentage of them would certainly end up feeling so torn up morally they’d conclude they had no moral choice but to report the crime.

Yet Erdely suggests the gang rape was just another ho-hum day at the Phi Psi house.

In a roundabout way, another — actually true — fraternity-related story out of Hattiesburg, Miss. is instructive.

That story, from October of this year, involves the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi and a couple of dead flamingos.

PIKE pledge Devin Nottis stole a Chilean flamingo from the Hattiesburg Zoo. He apparently got in an altercation with a second flamingo in the midst of the theft. He rapped about the theft in a video and then posted his flamingo-theft-rapping video on the Internet. (RELATED: Don’t Rap On Snapchat About Stealing $2000 Flamingos To Impress Frat Dudes)

Nottis, 19, was participating in a late-night PIKE scavenger hunt when the incident occurred. His one-in-the-morning, scavenger-hunt mission was to snap a picture with himself and a flamingo at the zoo.

He and some accomplices seem to have decided it’d be way cooler to steal a real flamingo instead. So, Nottis scaled a 10-foot fence and swiped one of the $2,000 birds.

At some perhaps less drunken point later, the PIKE brothers decided it was a terrible idea to have a stolen flamingo running around the frat house. Thus, in a manner of speaking, a dog very much did bark at the Southern Miss PIKE house — in the form of frat guys realizing they could be in big trouble.

Imagine how that conversation must have gone down.

“Dude,” an older frat brother must have told Nottis. “You gotta get rid of this flamingo. Like, right now.”

So, fairly idiotically, Nottis delivered the bird to a bicycle trail far away from the PIKE house. He left it there, still alive. It had a broken leg.

Zoo officials ultimately decided they had no choice but to euthanize the abandoned animal. (The flamingo Nottis fought died on its own.)

Compare now the flamingo-related actions of the Southern Miss PIKEs to the alleged actions of the Phi Psi members at the University of Virginia. According to Erdely, the men of Phi Psi, who, she says, had brutally gang-raped another human being, didn’t even bother to transport the rape victim away from the frat house. They just nonchalantly let Jackie leave, somehow assured that she’d never be seen or report the wicked crime to the police, ruining their lives and sending them all to prison.

There is simply no way Erdely’s tale of a frat house gang-rape happened. Frat guys — with their resplendent honor codes — are not hardened criminals who participate in gang rapes. Moreover, rapes of any kind are simply not any kind of norm on America’s college campuses. In fact, fresh Department of Justice data indicates collegiate women are less likely to be assaulted than their non-student peers. (RELATED: DOJ: 0.61 Percent Of Students Are Sexually Assaulted)

It is shameful that anyone believed Erdely’s story. At the same time, it’s no mystery it proved fleetingly believable.

The narrative Erdely hoped to promote with her fabulist yarn is based squarely on the erroneous assumption that throngs of college males are routinely raping college women.

In turn, this erroneous assumption has been made possible through the work of a group of vocal, fringe feminists which has for decades impressively and persistently cultivated a belief that men on college campuses (particularly the ones who join frats) are regularly raping their female peers. These fringe feminists cite an amazing, false statistic that one in five college women suffers some sexual assault. They repeat this false statistic over and over again like a mantra, despite the fact that it is an absurdly far cry from the Department of Justice’s reality-based statistic of 0.61 percent, which is 6 in 1,000.

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan was ready and willing to believe Erdely’s laughably unbelievable tale of fraternity gang rape because she had adopted this ludicrous feminist dogma. After Rolling Stone published the story, Sullivan readily shut down all Greek-life activity on campus.

The Greek life shutdown at UVA still remains in force.

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