At Hudson University, a girl named Mia is testifying in front of a tribunal about a sexual assault. The Dean doesn't seem to really know what she is doing.
At a coffee shop, Carisi meets with his sister Theresa and learns that the girl is his niece and no one told him because Mia didn't want the police involved. He thinks he should investigate anyway. Mia comes in and cries that Ethan was suspended and threatened her.
Carisi decides to investigate. He takes the case to Benson and Stone and tells them that Mia is his niece. Stone doesn't really care. After he leaves, Carisi asks if he is off the case. Benson tells him he can unofficially investigate as long as he doesn't screw anything up.
The investigation runs into a lot of dead ends. Mia doesn't remember much and doesn't have a consistent story, and after talking to her Benson gets the sense that she may not be telling the truth. Ethan's parents hire a lawyer and don't let him talk to the cops, and the only lead is another drunk guy who says that he heard Mia cried rape when she had regrets and was afraid she'd accuse him to. The cops end up having to drop the case, causing Theresa to get angry at Sonny., while Ethan doesn't care that it's been dropped because everyone thinks he's a rapist anyway.
Later, Mia tells Sonny privately that she lied. She didn't want her roommate to be mad that she slept with her ex and didn't expect her to tell anyone. Sonny tells her she must apologize to Ethan and try to fix this.
SVU gets a call from Mia. Ethan came over and when she tried to apologize he raped her. Sonny tells her they are not going to tell anyone the first rape accusation was false.
Stone believes the second rape accusation but is uncomfortable going to court with so little evidence. Benson tells him the point is to let the victim have a chance to speak her truth, not necessarily to win.
At trial, Stone faces off against Heller, a zealous attorney who tries to break Mia down on the stand and claims that a bunch of eggheads are ruining her client's life for no reason. The judge eventually fines her for contempt because she is badgering Mia and won't stop after multiple warnings and objections.
On the stand, Heller asks Sonny if Mia described both rapes the same way. She asks what Mia said the first time. After a long hesitation, Sonny admits there was no first rape.
Benson is angry but when Sonny goes to see Stone, all Stone has to say is that he's glad he told the truth when it counted. Stone doesn't want to be like his late father and win at all costs.
Ethan testifies next and claims he was set up because Mia wanted him to go to jail for some reason. Stone gets him to admit he was angry about being falsely accused and raped her because he felt he might as well since he'd already been branded a rapist and his life was ruined.
Ethan is found guilty.
Benson walks in on Stone changing his shirt and informs him she's not fooled by his attempts to charm everybody, but is interested when he offers to get Mets tickets for Noah.
Carisi helps his niece move out of the dorm. She hasn't told her mom that she is dropping out of school. He says he will go with her to tell.