Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy called a press conference Wednesday to discuss a lawsuit and publicity surrounding the Megan Rondini case.

Abernathy has not commented extensively on the case since it garnered widespread attention after BuzzFeed News published an online story in July. The story detailed how the former University of Alabama student committed suicide months after reporting that she was raped by a man from a prominent Tuscaloosa family.

Investigators said there was not enough evidence to prosecute T.J. Bunn and sent the case to a grand jury, which found no probable cause. Bunn has denied the allegation, saying he had consensual sex with Rondini.

The story sparked a wave of criticism directed at law enforcement by people who believe the case wasn’t investigated properly because of Bunn’s family connections. Abernathy remained quiet on the matter, citing the pending litigation after he and the two investigators were among the defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Rondini’s family.

A judge dismissed the case against the sheriff, and the family later dropped their cases against the individual investigators. On Wednesday, Abernathy issued a statement, saying that “after several months of unjust accusations against my office and other Tuscaloosa law enforcement agencies, the truth has indeed finally prevailed.”

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The Alabama Attorney General’s Office reviewed the investigation, he said, and “approved our investigators’ actions, and the investigative process.”

“We hope this incident will serve as a lesson to all that social media cannot, and should not, be the venue in which any case is tried, and that social media sites should not be trusted as a reliable source of substantiated information regarding important matters. False allegations made by internet bloggers and perpetuated by local political hacks have done damage to our community in that some victims have been reluctant to come forward to report cases, fearing that their information will be made known on social media.”

He said that some people who have commented on the case on social media could face civil litigation, but he declined to say who could be named as defendants.

“For those who have facilitated these injustices on Facebook and other sites, civil litigation should be expected, if for no other reason than to prevent this from occurring in the future. Baseless slander directed against innocent parties should be addressed and the offending parties held accountable. Those who perpetuate the false allegations for their own political gain should be held accountable. Their lack of integrity and self-serving disregard for the truth resulted in an unjustified attack on our community and many of its most respected institutions. Our message must be strong and clear, that libelous behavior will not be tolerated.”

Bunn is the only defendant remaining in the Rondini family's wrongful death suit.

His attorney, Ivey Gilmore, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that called the BuzzFeed story and lawsuit a "horrible ordeal" and said they were based on "false accusations and financial motives." He said the case was based on "outright lies that were then perpetuated using social media" to libel and slander those involved.

"It is now time to demand accountability from those who have misused the legal system and conducted character assignation through social media," he said.