Three UVA grads sue Rolling Stone over retracted rape article

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity stands next to the University of Virginia (UVA) campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Jan. 16, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty)
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity stands next to the University of Virginia (UVA) campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Jan. 16, 2015.

Three members of a University of Virginia fraternity caught up in a firestorm of criticism over a since-retracted Rolling Stone article alleging a sexual assault have filed a lawsuit against the publication and its author.

The three UVA graduates say in the complaint filed in federal court Wednesday that they were humiliated and mocked after they were presumed to be participants in an alleged sexual assault that was the centerpiece of the story.

They were not identified by the since-discredited article, but information in the story led to them being identified online as participants in the alleged attack, the lawsuit claims.

RELATED: UVA dean sues Rolling Stone over discredited campus rape story

The three men suffered "vicious and hurtful attacks" in the aftermath of the article, the lawsuit says. Online, "plaintiffs' names will forever be associated with the alleged gang rape," the lawsuit claims.

They are suing Rolling Stone, author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and the company that publishes Rolling Stone, Wenner Media. A dollar amount is not specified in the court documents, other than to say the suit seeks more than $75,000.

Rolling Stone declined to comment on the suit.

The Rolling Stone article published in November detailed an alleged brutal gang rape of a UVA student named "Jackie" at a fraternity house.

Questions were raised about the validity of the account, and Rolling Stone retracted the article entirely by April. The retraction was made after an independent report found that the magazine violated "basic, even routine journalistic practice."

RELATED: UVA frat says it will sue Rolling Stone

Charlottesville, Virginia, police have said they had "no basis to conclude that anything happened at that fraternity house."

As a result of the article, titled “A Rape on Campus,” Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana posted an apology on the publication’s website, and Erdely also apologized in a statement. Dana announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the magazine, with August 7 set as his last day, according to The New York Times. The newspaper asked Rolling Stone publisher Jan S. Wenner if the departure was associated with the controversy sparked by the retraction. “Many factors go into a decision like this,” Wenner told the Times through a spokeswoman

In May, University of Virginia Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo, who was portrayed in the article, filed a $7.8 million lawsuit against Rolling Stone, Erdely and Wenner Media.

Joy Wang contributed to this story.

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