Diary

Rolling Stone UVa Rape Story Continues to Unravel

This story has kind of slipped off the radar recently, but this development is worth noting.

Three friends of the alleged University of Virginia rape victim are growing more skeptical about her account, saying they have doubts about information she gave them and why she belatedly tried to get herself deleted from the Rolling Stone article that engulfed their campus in controversy.

The friends say among their concerns is the fact that the woman, named only as “Jackie” in the article, gave them a cellphone number so they could text a man she said she was seeing around the time she alleged she was gang-raped at a fraternity house.

Eventually, the friends ended up with three numbers for the man. All are registered to Internet services that enable people to text without cellphone numbers but also can be used to redirect calls to different numbers or engage in spoofing, according to multiple research databases checked by The Washington Times.

Multiple, fake cell phone numbers? I’m not at all surprised that the friends are getting skeptical. This has all the hallmarks of a custom-made hoax, set up for a reason that is still unknown but that’s easy to speculate about. Did Rolling Stone think that getting a big news scoop would increase sales? Were they deliberately trying to smear UVa for some reason? Or was it all college-age males that they were trying to smear? Is it perhaps a combination of the above?

Why besides a hoax would “Jackie” give her “friends” (honestly, if a friend did this to me, they wouldn’t be my friend much longer) obviously fake phone numbers generated by internet services Pinger and Enflick? I honestly can’t see any legitimate reason for giving them fake internet cell numbers. If one wants to message friends on one’s cell phone without giving out one’s phone number (and there are valid reasons for this), there are messaging apps like Kik for that. You don’t have to give anyone your phone number, just your Kik username. So if “Jackie”‘s alleged boyfriend didn’t want her to give out his number to people he, personally, didn’t know, there is a solution other than fake phone numbers.

The more I read about this story, the more it resembles Swiss cheese, which belongs on sandwiches and hamburgers, not in the pages of Rolling Stone.