WASHINGTON - Former fraternity members and graduates from the University of Virginia have sued Rolling Stone magazine over a gang rape story that sparked outrage and eventually had to be retracted, the New York Times reported.
The defamation lawsuit came as news emerged that the editor who oversaw the flawed story - which was retracted after unprecedented criticism and scrutiny of the iconic publication - was leaving the magazine.
Managing editor Will Dana will leave more than eight months after the story alleging a gang rape on campus was published, the Times also reported Wednesday.
Titled "A Rape on Campus," the story horrified many when it appeared in November with its explosive claims of a violent gang rape at a fraternity house, as recounted by the anonymous victim, identified only as "Jackie." The story was later redacted and retracted after facts in the article did not check out and a Columbia University investigation found basic journalistic failures during the story's reporting and editing.
Three former members of Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity from the University of Virginia where Rolling Stone had said the alleged rape took place, filed their lawsuit against the magazine saying the story had a "devastating effect" on them, The New York Times said.
One of the plaintiffs said friends and family members were able to identify him in the story as an accused attacker, the Times reported.
An associate dean from the university also filed a US$7.5 million (S$10.3 million) defamation lawsuit in May against Rolling Stone over the article.