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Jury hears from Jackie’s friends

Rolling Stone fact-checker, police officers take stand

<p>Former Associate Dean Nicole Eramo leaving the court building.</p>

Former Associate Dean Nicole Eramo leaving the court building.

Tuesday’s trial regarding “A Rape on Campus” presented the video depositions of Jackie’s then-friends Kathryn Hendley and Ryan Duffin, as well as the testimonies of Rolling Stone fact-checker Elisabeth Garber-Paul, Charlottesville Police Sergeant Jacob Via and Benjamin Rexrode, University Police Department crime prevention coordinator.

Rolling Stone’s attorney Elizabeth McNamara began Garber-Paul’s questioning in an attempt to demonstrate the magazine’s commitment to checking the article’s assertions.

Garber-Paul said she went through this article before press like all others she checks, “line by line and word by word.”

“I knew the stuff we were saying about the University of Virginia was very serious,” Garber-Paul said.

McNamara went over portions of the article based primarily on Jackie’s statements, and noted the frequent attributions, such as “she said” or “she remembered” tying the statements to Jackie directly. Garber-Paul said those attributions were an explicit attempt to put the statements in Jackie’s voice.

Garber-Paul repeated her continued trust in Jackie’s story based on several two hour-long conversations between the two of them.

“It was like she had these snapshots in her head,” Garber-Paul said. “We had to pause a couple times for her to catch her breath and regain composure. It convinced me. I believed her.”

The trial continued with the video deposition of Kathryn Hendley, known as “Cindy” in the article.

In the article, Erdely wrote that Jackie recalled Cindy questioning whether Jackie should go to the hospital following her alleged assault.

“Jackie had a tendency to fabricate things,” Hendley said in court.

After her deposition, Eramo’s attorney Libby Locke examined Rexrode, who met Eramo in the summer of 2013.

“She was the face of not only prevention, but response to gender-based violence at the University,” Rexrode said. “You could tell it was her passion … this was her life’s work.”

Rexrode met Jackie in April 2014 to discuss her assault on the Corner in which men threw glass bottles at her face in addition her 2012 sexual assault. Because both the Phi Kappa Psi house and the Corner area are under the jurisdiction of the Charlottesville Police Department, CPD Officer Charles Wade filed a police report.

Locke’s examination of Via, the detective then assigned to Jackie’s case, revealed Jackie was unwilling to follow through with a police investigation.

However, CPD decided to investigate her sexual assault after the article’s publication. Although Via ended up interviewing between 70 and 80 people, there was no evidence corroborating the article’s story of Jackie’s sexual assault.

“I was against [investigating the case without Jackie’s permission] personally at the time,” Via said in court. “I was instructed to investigate this case until I couldn’t investigate it any further.”

Duffin’s video deposition was presented in court as well. Duffin was identified as Jackie’s friend “Randall” in the article. The deposition was taped in April 2016, when Duffin was a fourth-year student.

Duffin testified about the differences between his meeting with Jackie on the night of September 28, 2012, and the description of their meeting in the article. Many of the differences focused on Jackie’s physical appearance and the discussions they had.

“There was nothing about her physical appearance to indicate any violent action had taken place,” Duffin said. “We never tried to dissuade her from reporting it due to social reputation.”

Duffin also testified on his involvement with “Haven Monahan,” who Jackie said was a third-year Phi Kappa Psi brother in her chemistry class who showed romantic interest in her. She asked Duffin and mutual friend Alex Stock to text and vet Monahan.

Stock and Duffin eventually realized in December 2014 that they had two different numbers for Monahan.

“It felt very weird,” Duffin said. “It felt like a strange way to help out a friend.”

When Duffin was unable to find Monahan on the University People Search, he questioned Jackie about Monahan’s existence.

“It was difficult to trust her after this,” Duffin said. “I had a lot of questions, I had a lot of doubts, but I also transpired these were questions I’d never have answers to.”

Erdely reached out to Duffin after the article was published to ask if Jackie ever asked him to participate in the article — which, according to Duffin, she never did.

“I remember leaving [the conversation] with the impression that she was genuinely apologetic for what had happened,” Duffin said of his conversation with Erdely. “What she wrote was based on the information she was given.”

The trial will continue Wednesday with the testimonies of Dean of Students Allen Groves, Jackie’s then-friend Alex Pinkleton — who was interviewed in the article — and Sean Woods, then-deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone.