TIME Crime

#IStandWithJackie Emerges to Defend UVA Student Who Says She Was Raped

The editor of Rolling Stone said that it was difficult to square facts with Jackie's account

Twitter users showed their support for a University of Virginia student known as Jackie whose detailed account of being raped was published in Rolling Stone last month, hours after the magazine said it had reason to doubt her story.

Using the hashtag #IStandWithJackie, Twitter users said questioning Jackie’s claim of rape might discourage others from coming forward.

MORE: No police investigation yet in UVA rape case

In a note to readers Friday, Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana said it was difficult to square certain facts with the account provided by Jackie. He later clarified that he did not blame Jackie, but instead wishes the magazine had done a better job trying corroborate her story.

Read next: Questioning an Accuser’s Story: A Rape Victim Group Weighs In

TIME Environment

California’s Drought Is Now the Worst in 1,200 Years

And it might not be ending anytime soon

California’s three years of low rainfall is the region’s worst drought in 1,200 years, according to a new study.

Record high temperatures combined with unusually low levels of precipitation have been the primary causes of the dry conditions, according to the study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“It was a surprise,” study author Kevin Anchukaitis told the Los Angeles Times of the findings. “I don’t think we expected to see that at all.”

The drought has led to tremendous economic costs in the state, including an expected $2.2 billion and 17,000 farming jobs this year alone, according to a report from the University of California, Davis. It’s also expected to increase food prices across the country.

And the problem may not be going away soon. About 44% of three-year droughts last continue past their third year, according to the Times.

TIME campus rape

Questioning an Accuser’s Story: A Rape Victim Group Weighs In

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Steve St. John—Getty Images/National Geographic RF University Of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

The president of RAINN is concerned that the now-discredited Rolling Stone story could promote misconceptions about false rape reporting

Rolling Stone has released a statement acknowledging “discrepancies” in their blockbuster story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia and victims’ advocates are concerned that this high-profile incident will keep other rape victims from getting justice.

This is bad for Rolling Stone, but even worse for rape victims. While it’s still unclear whether the discrepancies in Jackie’s story are proof that she was not attacked at all, the public debate over her credibility could have an impact on the way survivors are treated.

“False reporting of sexual assault hurts actual victims, because it leads the public and law enforcement to start doubting their stories,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN (The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) noting that only about 6% of rape allegations are fabricated.

A culture that reinforces the importance of “believing the victim” puts journalism– a profession of skepticism– in a tough spot. “Journalists should approach stories like this as if they are aware of the statistics that false reporting of this crime is quite rare,” Berkowitz said. “Most likely it’s the truth, but they shouldn’t suspend disbelief.”

“Overwhelmingly, victims are telling the truth,” he said. “But by all means, journalists should ask all the questions they need to ask in order to get the facts.”

Berkowitz also expressed concern about the impact of this story on campus justice systems, where there are often murky protocols for handling rape allegations. “I hope this isn’t the case, but I worry that it’s going to make colleges and those who are part of the college adjudication process more reticent to pursue allegations and find the person responsible,” he said. “I think it reinforces the importance of having these cases go through the criminal justice system and not through the internal college system.”

Most of all, he says, “I really hope that the next victim isn’t deterred from coming forward.”

(The fraternity discussed in the story, Phi Kappa Psi, has released a statement refuting key facts mentioned in the Rolling Stone story and including the allegation that the sexual assault was part of an initiation ritual. The fraternity wrote that “this notion is vile, and we vehemently refute this claim.”)

MORE: The debate: How should college campuses handle sexual assault?

TIME Health Care

Here’s What Brittany Maynard Told a Stranger Hours Before She Died

Brittany Maynard
Maynard Family—AP Brittany Maynard

"I wish I could have had the pleasure of meeting you in person"

Hours before Brittany Maynard ended her life she sent an email to a stranger thanking her for fighting for “the choice of dignity in death,” People reports.

“Stories like yours and mine put human faces on a controversial topic that many politicians are happy to sweep under the rug,” Maynard wrote to Barbara Mancini, who helped her ailing father end his life last year. “I wish I could have had the pleasure of meeting you in person.”

Mancini had emailed Maynard, whose decision to end her life in the face of terminal illness reignited national debate on the topic, to thank her for her contributions.

Read more at People

TIME Crime

Grand Jury Will Weigh Whether to Indict New York Cop in Fatal Shooting

Public Housing Police Shooting
John Minchillo—AP A demonstrator looks on a memorial to Akai Gurley who was shot to death by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang at the Louis Pink Houses public housing complex, Nov. 22, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Akai Gurley was unarmed when he was shot dead by a NYPD officer

A grand jury will decide whether to indict the New York City police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project last month, the local prosecutor said Friday.

The news, reported by the Wall Street Journal, follows on the heels of protests over grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Mo.

Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead on Nov. 20 by rookie officer Peter Liang, who officials say discharged his weapon accidentally. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s decision comes after conducting an investigation with the New York Police Department. The New York Daily News, citing unnamed sources, reports that Liang texted his union representative rather than calling for help as Gurley lay dying.

“I’m going to do it because it’s important to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr. Gurley, who was an innocent unarmed man who lost his life,” Thompson told the Journal of his decision to convene a grand jury. “So on behalf of the people of Brooklyn, we need to figure out and determine what exactly happened in that stairwell.”

[WSJ]

TIME Crime

Fraternity Rebuts Claims from Rolling Stone Rape Story

"We have no knowledge of these alleged acts being committed at our house or by our members"

A University of Virginia fraternity issued a broad denial Friday of a Rolling Stone story that depicted a gang rape occurring at its house, just as the magazine itself cast doubt on the story’s credibility.

Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where a woman called “Jackie” said she was raped, pointed to what it called a number of factual errors with the story. It said it didn’t host a party the night of the alleged rape and that none of its members at the time were employed at the campus pool, where Jackie said her fraternity date that night worked.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

“We have no knowledge of these alleged acts being committed at our house or by our members,” the fraternity said in a statement. “Anyone who commits any form of sexual assault, where or whenever, should be identified and brought to justice.”

Rolling Stone said Friday in a note to readers that “discrepancies in Jackie’s account” cast a doubt on the story. The gruesome nature of the article and UVA’s alleged mishandling of the case had prompted national headlines and debate about campus sexual assault.

TIME Military

Female Navy Officers Were Secretly Filmed Showering in a Submarine

Silhouette of a submarine being followed by a coast guard zodiac.
Todd Gipstein—National Geographic Creative/Getty Images

U.S. Navy officials are investigating the incident

U.S. Navy officials are investigating who secretly filmed female officers showering and changing clothes while aboard a submarine, according to a CNN report.

“Incidents that violate the trust of our sailors go against every core value we hold sacred in our naval service,” Navy Vice Admiral M.J. Connor wrote in a letter, according to CNN.

At least three female officers were videotaped over the course of a year aboard the USS Wyoming, and the recordings were sent to members of the crew, according to an incident report cited by CNN.

Read the full story from CNN.

TIME Crime

Rolling Stone Says It No Longer Trusts Woman in Gang Rape Account

'We have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,' the magazine's managing editor says

The magazine that published a detailed account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia said Friday that it no longer considers the woman behind the story to be a reliable source.

Rolling Stone‘s vivid depiction of a gang rape suffered by a woman it called “Jackie” at a fraternity house drew national headlines and renewed conversations about sexual assault on college campuses. The magazine apologized to readers about the story Friday.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” managing editor Will Dana wrote in a note to readers.

MORE: No police investigation yet in UVA rape case

The story has come under growing scrutiny after its author acknowledged not contacting the men accused of wrongdoing.

“We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account,” Dana wrote. “We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

MORE: The sexual assault crisis on American campuses

The story prompted UVA’s president to temporarily suspend fraternity activity and to promise an investigation, along with wider calls to reform the way sexual assault allegations are handled on campuses.

The fraternity in question, Phi Kappa Psi, released a statement Friday detailing what it said were a number of factual inaccuracies in the Rolling Stone account. And in a series of Twitter messages later Friday, Dana said the story was Rolling Stone‘s responsibility, not Jackie’s.

And in a statement, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan said administrators were aware of the new reports. “The University remains first and foremost concerned with the care and support of our students and, especially, any survivor of sexual assault,” she said. “Our students, their safety, and their wellbeing, remain our top priority. Over the past two weeks, our community has been more focused than ever on one of the most difficult and critical issues facing higher education today: sexual violence on college campuses. Today’s news must not alter this focus.”

Read next: Questioning an Accuser’s Story: A Rape Victim Group Weighs In

TIME Media

D.C. Magazine Sees Staff Quit in Mass Resignation

As The New Republic's owner looks to digital shift

The majority of the editorial staff at a prestigious Washington magazine resigned en masse this week, following the departure of top editors over disagreements with the owner’s plans.

Top editor Franklin Foer and longtime literary editor Leon Wieseltier left The New Republic, clashing with owner Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, who is pushing for a new direction for the publication, which has helped shape liberal politics in the U.S. over the course of its 100-year history. The departure of Foer and Wieseltier was quickly followed by nine of the magazine’s twelve senior editors, two executive editors, the digital media editor, the legislative affairs editor, two arts editors and at least 20 contributing editors, Politico reports.

In a memo sent to the staff, Guy Vidra, who was recently hired by Hughes to be The New Republic‘s first CEO, said he wanted to remake the magazine into “a vertically integrated digital media company.” The publication announced plans to cut in half the number of print issues it publishes each year and expand editorial staff in New York City. (The magazine is currently headquartered in Washington, D.C.)

“Thing is, neither Chris Hughes nor Guy Vidra bothered to communicate anything to the editorial staff,” tweeted Julia Ioffe, a senior editor who resigned. “There is no vision, just Silicon Valley mumbo-jumbo.”

Hughes said in a statement Friday that The New Republic “can and will be preserved, because it’s bigger than any one of us.”

[Politico]

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