A former friend of “Jackie” said she felt sorry for Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of a Rolling Stone article detailing Jackie’s alleged gang rape that’s now the subject of a $7.5 million defamation suit.
“I understand what it’s like to be lied to by Jackie,” Kathryn Hendly said in a deposition that played to the court yesterday. She also told the court, “Jackie had a tendency to fabricate things.”
In the article, Erdely reported that Hendley (who she identified under the pseudonym “Cindy”) was a “self-described hookup queen,” who said Jackie should stay silent about her attack; if she became known as “the girl who cried rape,” the article described Hendley saying, Jackie may lose her social status.
Erdely failed to speak to Hendley before the article’s publication. But she also reported that “Cindy” told Jackie: “Why didn’t you have fun with it? A bunch of hot Phi Psi guys?”
Hendley’s recollection of the night of the alleged gang rape differs dramatically from the version Rolling Stone reported after interviewing Jackie.
She told the court that Jackie didn’t even tell her about the alleged sexual assault that evening. Hendley said she cut off the friendship later that semester, when she discovered Jackie had made up a rumor about her.
Ryan Duffin, identified in the article as “Randall,” was also present that night with Jackie. In a videotaped deposition played yesterday, he described Rolling Stone’s story as “a complete fabrication.” He said Erdely didn’t contact him until after the article’s publication.
Duffin said that even before the alleged rape, his interactions with Jackie left him feeling odd. Jackie had asked him to text message a junior named “Haven Monahan,” who she said wanted to get romantically involved with her, Duffin said. He agreed, but something about the request felt weird, he told the court.
On the night of the alleged rape, Duffin said, Jackie told him that Monahan and several other fraternity brothers had raped her. He urged her to report the attack, but she refused, he said. And though she “seemed a little shaken,” Duffin said, she didn’t appear physically harmed.
Reading Jackie’s version of the attack in Rolling Stone, it’s hard to imagine how her injuries would have gone unnoticed by Duffin and Hendley. In the article, Jackie claims she was brutalized by seven men for three hours, raped atop shards of glass.
Moreover, in the weeks after the assault, Duffin said, he became increasingly skeptical that “Monahan” had even existed. He wasn’t listed in the school directory, and he learned that Jackie had asked another friend to text “Monahan,” too—but gave him a different phone number for the beau-turned-rapist.
“It was difficult to trust her after this,” Duffin told the court, saying the friendship fell apart when he questioned Jackie about Monahan. “I had a lot of questions, I had a lot of doubts … these were questions I’d never have answers to.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.