Brett Kavanaugh's Sexual Assault Accuser Comes Forward

by Jerriann Sullivan
Originally Published: 
Image via Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brett Kavanaugh is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in high school

The woman Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of sexually assaulting in high school is speaking out about the incident and why she chose to come forward. Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a politician when it became clear Kavanaugh was on the short list for the Supreme Court. But when her anonymity was broken, she decided to speak out to The Washington Post about the attack that happened more than three decades ago.

Ford was with other teenagers at a house one summer night in the early 1980s when Kavanaugh and a friend allegedly corralled her into a bedroom. She told The Post that Kavanaugh was drunk when he pinned her to the bed, groped her, grinded his body on hers, and attempted to remove her clothing. When Ford screamed, she said Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford told The Post of the attack that happened when she was a high school student in Maryland. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford remembers Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, watching the encounter at first before jumping on the bed and sending all three tumbling. Ford used the distraction as a way to escape the room and Kavanaugh. Ford, who is a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, told her husband and her therapist about the alleged attack in 2012, according to records The Post reviewed.

Though Ford’s attack happened years ago, she felt compelled to let politicians know about it when it became clear that Kavanaugh might make it to the Supreme Court. She reached out to her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, who ended up sending a letter about the alleged attack to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Feinstein sent the letter to the FBI. From there it went – without Ford’s name – to the White House and all senators. Someone released Ford’s name because reporters were starting to show up at her house and job. Considering the White House and the GOP have hidden more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh’s judicial record it’s ridiculous that the victim of sexual assault was outed. “These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” Ford told The Post. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”

Like most survivors of sexual assault, Ford experienced anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack. “I think it derailed me substantially for four or five years,” she explained. She opened up about the attack to her therapist and her husband in 2012. Eventually, she worked with Debra Katz, a lawyer in Washington who specializes in sexual harassment cases. “Victims must have the right to decide whether to come forward, especially in a political environment that is as ruthless as this one,” Katz said. Sadly, someone took that choice away from Ford.

Now, Ford’s attorney says she’s willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Katz suggested she take a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent so if her story became public, it would be harder for Kavanaugh’s fans to attack her in the press and call her a liar. She passed the test, but the GOP still attacked her. Immediately after the story broke, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley released a letter signed by 65 women who allege they knew Kavanaugh in high school. The fact that the GOP had the letter already written shows they knew about Kavanaugh’s alleged attack on Ford and hid it.

As some attack Ford and try to discredit her, plenty are supportive as she bravely steps forward.

Kavanaugh issued a statement denying any wrong-doing.

It’s also worth noting that the 65 women who came forward to attest to Kavanaugh’s character back in his high school days weren’t even all from the same school. That list was put together in less than 24 hours. Almost as if something like Ford’s accusation were expected.

At this point, continuing on with the vote to confirm Kavanaugh would be a devastating gut punch to women everywhere. Ford is willing to testify under oath — and they need to let her voice be heard before making a single move to push this through.

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