Earlier this summer time, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her greater than three many years in the past, once they have been highschool college students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones model of her story turned public with out her identify or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that simply days in the past appeared all however sure to succeed.
Now, Ford has determined that if her story goes to be advised, she needs to be the one to inform it.
Talking publicly for the primary time, Ford stated that one summer time within the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a good friend – each “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges – corralled her right into a bed room throughout a gathering of youngsters at a home in Montgomery County.
Whereas his pal watched, she stated, Kavanaugh pinned her to a mattress on her again and groped her over her garments, grinding his physique towards hers and clumsily trying to tug off her one-piece bathing go well with and the clothes she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she stated, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” stated Ford, now a 51-year-old analysis psychologist in Northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford stated she was capable of escape when Kavanaugh’s pal and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory Faculty, Mark Decide, jumped on prime of them, sending all three tumbling. She stated she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a toilet after which fled the home.
Ford stated she advised no one of many incident in any element till 2012, when she was in couples remedy together with her husband. The therapist’s notes, parts of which have been offered by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Submit, don’t point out Kavanaugh’s identify however say she reported that she was attacked by college students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to develop into “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say 4 boys have been concerned, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s half. Ford stated there have been 4 boys on the social gathering however solely two within the room.
Notes from a person remedy session the next yr, when she was being handled for what she says have been long-term results of the incident, present Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teenagers.
In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, stated that within the 2012 periods, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one among whom pinned her to a mattress, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He stated he recalled that his spouse used Kavanaugh’s final identify and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal decide — may at some point be nominated to the Supreme Court.
On Sunday, the White Home despatched The Submit a press release Kavanaugh issued final week, when the outlines of Ford’s account first turned public: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
By way of a White Home spokesman, Kavanaugh declined to remark additional on Ford’s allegation and didn’t reply to questions on whether or not he knew her throughout highschool. The White Home had no further remark.
Reached by e-mail Sunday, Decide declined to remark. In an interview Friday with The Weekly Commonplace, earlier than Ford’s identify was recognized, he denied that any such incident occurred. “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Decide stated. He informed the New York Occasions that Kavanaugh was a “brilliant student” who liked sports activities and was not “into anything crazy or illegal.”
Christine Ford is a professor at Palo Alto College who teaches in a consortium with Stanford College, coaching graduate college students in medical psychology. Her work has been extensively revealed in educational journals.
She contacted The Submit via a tip line in early July, when it had turn out to be clear that Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of attainable nominees to exchange retiring justice Anthony Kennedy however earlier than Trump introduced his identify publicly. A registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations, she contacted her congresswoman, Democrat Anna G. Eshoo, across the similar time. In late July, she despatched a letter by way of Eshoo’s workplace to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the rating Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Within the letter, which was learn to The Publish, Ford described the incident and stated she anticipated her story to be stored confidential. She signed the letter as Christine Blasey, the identify she makes use of professionally.
For weeks, Ford declined to talk to The Publish on the document as she grappled with considerations about what going public would imply for her and her household – and what she stated was her obligation as a citizen to inform the story.
She engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer recognized for her work on sexual harassment instances. On the recommendation of Katz, who believed Ford can be attacked as a liar if she got here ahead, Ford took a polygraph check administered by a former FBI agent in early August. The outcomes, which Katz offered to The Publish, concluded that Ford was being truthful when she stated a press release summarizing her allegations was correct.
By late August, Ford had determined to not come ahead, calculating that doing so would upend her life and doubtless wouldn’t have an effect on Kavanaugh’s affirmation. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she stated.
Her story leaked anyway. On Wednesday, The Intercept reported that Feinstein had a letter describing an incident involving Kavanaugh and a lady whereas they have been in highschool, and that Feinstein was refusing to share it together with her Democratic colleagues.
Feinstein quickly launched a press release: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” she wrote. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
The FBI acquired a model of the letter with Ford’s identify redacted, in response to a Republican official with information of the letter, after which despatched it to the White Home to be included in Kavanaugh’s background file. The White Home despatched it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, making it obtainable to all senators.
As strain grew, the New York Occasions reported that the incident concerned “possible sexual misconduct.”
By then, Ford had begun to worry she can be uncovered, notably after a BuzzFeed reporter visited her at her house and tried to talk to her as she was leaving a classroom the place she teaches graduate college students. One other reporter referred to as her colleagues to ask about her.
On Friday, the New Yorker reported the letter’s contents however didn’t reveal Ford’s id. Quickly after, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, launched a letter from 65 ladies who say they knew Kavanaugh when he attended highschool from 1979 to 1983 at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys faculty in North Bethesda.
“Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity,” the ladies wrote. “In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day.”
Because the story snowballed, Ford stated, she heard individuals repeating inaccuracies about her and, with the visits from reporters, felt her privateness being chipped away. Her calculation modified.
“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she stated, explaining her determination to return ahead. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
Katz stated she believes Feinstein honored Ford’s request to maintain her allegation confidential, however “regrettably others did not.”
“Victims must have the right to decide whether to come forward, especially in a political environment that is as ruthless as this one,” Katz stated. “She will now face vicious attacks by those who support this nominee.”
After so a few years, Ford stated she doesn’t keep in mind some key particulars of the incident. She stated she believes it occurred in the summertime of 1982, when she was 15, across the finish of her sophomore yr on the all-girls Holton-Arms Faculty in Bethesda. Kavanaugh would have been 17 on the finish of his junior yr at Georgetown Prep.
On the time, Ford stated, she knew Kavanaugh and Decide as “friendly acquaintances” within the private-school social circles of suburban Maryland. Her Holton-Arms buddies principally frolicked with boys from the Landon Faculty, she stated, however for a interval of a number of months socialized often with college students from Georgetown Prep.
Ford stated she doesn’t keep in mind how the gathering got here collectively the night time of the incident. She stated she typically hung out in the summertime on the Columbia Nation Membership pool in Chevy Chase, the place in these pre-cellphone days, youngsters discovered about gatherings by way of phrase of mouth. She additionally doesn’t recall who owned the home or how she received there.
Ford stated she remembers that it was in Montgomery County, not removed from the nation membership, and that no mother and father have been residence on the time. Ford named two different youngsters who she stated have been on the social gathering. These people didn’t reply to messages on Sunday morning.
She stated she recollects a small household room the place she and a handful of others drank beer collectively that night time. She stated that every individual had one beer however that Kavanaugh and Decide had began consuming earlier and have been closely intoxicated.
In his senior-class yearbook entry at Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh made a number of references to consuming, claiming membership to the “Beach Week Ralph Club” and “Keg City Club.” He and Decide are pictured collectively on the seashore in a photograph within the yearbook.
Decide is a filmmaker and writer who has written for the Every day Caller, The Weekly Normal and The Washington Publish. He chronicled his restoration from alcoholism in “Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk,” which described his personal blackout consuming and a tradition of partying amongst college students at his highschool, renamed within the guide “Loyola Prep.” Kavanaugh shouldn’t be talked about within the ebook, however a passage about partying on the seashore one summer time makes glancing reference to a “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who “puked in someone’s car the other night” and “passed out on his way back from a party.”
Via the White Home, Kavanaugh didn’t reply to a query about whether or not the identify was a pseudonym for him.
Ford stated she left the household room to make use of the toilet, which was on the prime of a slender stairway. She doesn’t keep in mind whether or not Kavanaugh and Decide have been behind her or already upstairs, however she remembers being pushed right into a bed room after which onto a mattress. Rock ‘n’ roll music was enjoying with the quantity turned up excessive, she stated.
She alleges that Kavanaugh — who performed soccer and basketball at Georgetown Prep — held her down with the load of his physique and fumbled together with her garments, seemingly hindered by his intoxication. Decide stood throughout the room, she stated, and each boys have been laughing “maniacally.” She stated she yelled, hoping that somebody downstairs would hear her over the music, and Kavanaugh clapped his hand over her mouth to silence her.
At one level, she stated, Decide jumped on prime of them, and she or he tried unsuccessfully to wriggle free. Then Decide jumped on them once more, toppling them, and she or he broke away, she stated.
She stated she locked herself within the rest room and listened till she heard the boys “going down the stairs, hitting the walls.” She stated that after 5 or ten minutes, she unlocked the door and made her means via the lounge and out of doors. She isn’t positive how she acquired house.
Ford stated she has not spoken with Kavanaugh since that night time. And she or he informed nobody on the time what had occurred to her. She was terrified, she stated, that she can be in hassle if her mother and father realized she had been at a celebration the place youngsters have been consuming, and she or he frightened they could determine it out even when she didn’t inform them.
“My biggest fear was, do I look like someone just attacked me?” she stated. She stated she recalled considering: “I’m not ever telling anyone this. This is nothing, it didn’t happen, and he didn’t rape me.”
Years later, after going by way of psychotherapy, Ford stated, she got here to know the incident as a trauma with lasting influence on her life.
“I think it derailed me substantially for four or five years,” she stated. She stated she struggled academically and socially and was unable to have wholesome relationships with males. “I was very ill-equipped to forge those kinds of relationships.”
She additionally stated she believes that in the long run, it contributed to nervousness and post-traumatic stress dysfunction signs with which she has struggled.
She married her husband in 2002. Early of their relationship, she informed him she had been a sufferer of bodily abuse, he stated. A decade later, he discovered the small print of that alleged abuse when the therapist requested her to inform the story, he stated.
He stated he expects that some individuals, upon listening to his spouse’s account, will consider that Kavanaugh’s highschool conduct has no bearing upon his health for the nation’s excessive courtroom. He disagrees.
“I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong,” Russell Ford stated. “If they don’t have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that’s a problem. So I think it’s relevant. Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.”