Lawsuit: UVA Student’s Crush On A Friend Was Root Of Fake Rolling Stone Gang Rape Story

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

The former University of Virginia student whose false claim about being gang-raped was published by Rolling Stone is a “serial liar” who– in addition to fabricating the rape story — made up a second identity and lied about having a terminal illness, all so that she could win the affections of a student she had a crush on, attorneys representing a dean at the school claimed in a recent lawsuit filing.

Jackie Coakley posed as her own suitor, a UVA student she called “Haven Monahan,” in an elaborate catfishing scheme aimed at getting her friend and classmate, Ryan Duffin, to like her, attorneys for UVA dean Nicole Eramo asserted in court papers filed this week.

She also told Duffin that she had a terminal illness and was “dying.” But her biggest lies graced the pages of Rolling Stone in a Nov. 2014 article entitled “A Rape on Campus,” which was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

Eramo filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Erdely last year. Not only did Coakley lie about the gang-rape claim that is the center of Erdely’s 9,000-word piece, the reporter and the magazine failed to practice basic journalistic ethics by publishing the article, Eramo asserts.

As Erdely reported, Coakley claimed that on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, she went on a date with a third-year fraternity member she knew from her job at the school’s swimming pool. She claimed that after the date, she was taken to a fraternity party were she was taken upstairs and gang-raped by seven fraternity brothers as part of a heinous hazing ritual. Coakley claimed that she was raped on top of a broken table and that a bottle was used to assault her.

Besides fabricating the rape story, Coakley lied about how her friends and school officials responded to her complaint. Three friends that Coakley called after the alleged attack were reported by Erdely as urging her not to file a complaint because they were worried about not being invited to campus parties. Coakley also claimed that Eramo failed to help her pursue justice in the case.

But in the recent court filing, first reported by The Washington Post, Eramo’s attorneys asserted that Coakley’s story “was a lie when she first told it in 2012, and it was no more true when Rolling Stone recklessly published the tale in 2014.”

No evidence exists which would allow anyone “to conclude that Jackie is even an ‘alleged’ victim of sexual assault, let alone an actual victim,” the lawyers added. Indeed, the Charlottesville police department found no evidence to support Coakley’s claims. They also determined that she changed her story about another physical assault she claimed occurred near campus.

Though Coakley is not a defendant in the lawsuit, Eramo is arguing that her text messages, emails and testimony are “highly relevant” to the case. Coakley’s attorneys are resisting the demand that she turn over her records, however. They are also refusing to allow her to be deposed.

Eramo is suing Erdely and Rolling Stone’s editors, claiming that they should never have printed Coakley’s story given how little evidence there was to support her claims.

Though the article gained national attention after it was published — with progressive journalists, activists, and liberal politicians condemning UVA and the accused fraternity — Coakley’s accusations were soon called into question. And once that thread was pulled, the entire story unraveled.

As the story fell apart, it came to light that Erdely failed to perform basic tenets of journalism. Coakley declined to provide to Erdely the names of the men who she said raped her, it was revealed. But that did not deter the reporter and the magazine. The piece went ahead anyway. Erdely also did not contact the three friends who Coakley claimed she called for help after the supposed rape.

Had Erdely taken that step, the story “never would have blown up like this,” Duffin, one of the three friends mentioned by pseudonym in the article, told The Post.

He and the two other friends came forward several weeks after the story was published to clarify that Coakley’s claim on the night that the attack supposedly occurred was that she was forced to perform oral sex on five fraternity members. There was no blood on her dress, as Erdely reported in her article.

Duffin and the other friends also disputed the claim that they convinced Coakley to keep quiet about the attack.

Eramo’s lawyers contend that Coakley made up the story that later appeared in Rolling Stone as a way to get Duffin’s attention.

Duffin’s text message and emails were subpoenaed as part of Eramo’s lawsuit. The records show that Coakley aggressively pursued a romantic relationship with Duffin. Soon after the pair met, Coakley put Duffin in touch with a student she said she was dating named Haven Monahan. But Monahan soon began telling Duffin that he was the object of Coakley’s affection.

But Duffin was not interested. And when he told Coakley that in early Sept. 2012, “it did not go over very well,” Duffin told The Daily Caller in the weeks after he came forward. (RELATED: UVA Gang Rape Accuser’s Friend Shares New Details In Interview)

“There was a lot of crying involved,” he added.

In one text exchange printed in the recent court filing, Haven Monahan told Duffin that Coakley had a terminal illness — lupus — likely as an attempt at generating sympathy.

Duffin texted Coakley to ask what her diagnosis meant.

“Ryan, it means I’m dying,” she told him via text.

Coakley’s final effort at winning Duffin’s affection appears to be her sensational rape claim. She told Duffin and others on the night of the alleged attack that she was going out on a date with Haven Monahan, whose persona she had by then developed by attaching it to a picture of one of her high school classmates.

But days after Coakley claimed she was sexually assaulted, Haven Monahan, the alleged gang rape ringleader, emailed a love letter that Coakley purportedly wrote for Duffin.

Duffin shared that letter — which was heavily plagiarized from popular TV shows like Scrubs and Dawson’s Creek — with TheDC.

All of that evidence “demonstrates that ‘Haven Monahan’ was a fake suitor created by Jackie in a strange bid to earn the affections of a student named Ryan Duffin that Jackie was romantically interested in,” Eramo’s attorneys wrote in their court filing.

[h/t K.C. Johnson for uploading the court filing]

This post has been updated with additional information.

Follow Chuck on Twitter