University of Virginia students walk to campus past the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. on Nov. 24, 2014.
Steve Helber/AP

Attorney for UVA’s ‘Jackie’ says she has been threatened


The attorney who now represents “Jackie,” the young woman whose story of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity was at the center of a disputed Rolling Stone story, said the experience has been ”very stressful, overwhelming and retraumatizing for Jackie and her family.”

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Palma E. Pustilnik, a staff attorney at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society who said she primarily focuses on working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence, issued a statement Wednesday after being retained last week by Jackie, as she is known in the story. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have approached us with tact and sensitivity,” Pustilnik said in a statement aimed at the press. She added, “I will also take this opportunity to let others know that threats and attempts to extort and/or intimidate have been and will continue to be reported to the appropriate authorities.” 

Since Rolling Stone put out an initial statement that said ”our trust in her was misplaced,” which it has since removed, various internet trolls have published what they claim is Jackie’s full name and personal information. The magazine has yet to make a full accounting of its reporting process, but The Washington Post  has raised several discrepancies in Rolling Stone’s account, including friends who say they were not interviewed by Rolling Stone and remember the incident differently.  

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On Wednesday afternoon, The Washington Post published another story that raised doubts about Rolling Stone’s reporting. The three students who are portrayed in the story as behaving cruelly and dismissively to their bloodied, traumatized friend shared a very different account of happened with the newspaper. The friends’ version of the story was that they had recommended she seek help. They also said Jackie gave them a different account of who had sexually assaulted her, and how – a student from her chemistry class as opposed to a fellow student lifeguard. Most damningly of all for Rolling Stone, the Post reported that “the friends said they never were contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors.” The magazine has said it is conducting an internal review. 

Jackie’s freshman suitemate has also spoken up. “While I cannot say what happened that night, and I cannot prove the validity of every tiny aspect of her story to you, I can tell you that this story is not a hoax, a lie or a scheme,” wrote Emily Clark in the campus paper, Cavalier Daily. “Something terrible happened to Jackie at the hands of several men who have yet to receive any repercussions.” 

Sexual Assault and University of Virginia

Attorney for UVA's 'Jackie' says she has been threatened