The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault came forward with her explosive allegations on Sunday, saying the supposed attack “derailed me substantially for four or five years” and claiming that the episode rendered her “unable to have healthy relationships with men.”
The woman, Christine Ford, is a professor at Palo Alto University, according to The Washington Post, which published her account on Sunday. Her decision to go public caps a whirlwhind week that began when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent shockwaves through Washington by releasing a statement saying she turned over information about Kavanaugh from an anonymous accuser to the FBI. It also threatens to upend Kavanaugh’s confirmation, as top Democrats call for a full investigation.
Ford, a 51-year-old registered Democrat who has published in academic journals and trains students in clinical psychology, described the alleged incident on Sunday, saying it occurred at a Maryland house gathering. Ford claimed she headed upstairs to a bathroom when she was suddenly pushed onto a bed, as rock-and-roll music blared.
However, Ford told The Post she did not recall exactly who owned the house, how she came to be at the house, or how the gathering was arranged. She remembered only that the house was in Montgomery County, near a country club, and that parents were not present.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”
Ford said she remembered that during one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, were “stumbling drunk” and laughing “maniacally” when Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to forcibly remove her one-piece bathing suit, as well as the clothes she was wearing. According to Ford, Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, who works as a research psychologist in California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford claims she was able to escape to a bathroom and then outside of the house when Judge jumped into the fray and sent everyone in the room “tumbling.”
Judge strongly denied the allegations on Friday, when they were
anonymous, saying the claims were “just absolutely nuts” and insisting that “I never saw Brett act that way.”
Also on Friday, Kavanaugh released a statement through the White House as the allegations surfaced: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
The White House stood by that denial on Sunday in the wake of the Post’s report.
“As the story notes, we are standing with Judge Kavanaugh’s denial,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told Fox News.
The Post said she had contacted the newspaper in July, along with Feinstein. According to Ford, she kept the episode mostly to herself until 2012, when she mentioned it in a couple’s therapy session.
The therapist’s contemporaneous notes, provided to the Post, reportedly confirmed that Ford maintained she had been attacked by four individuals “from an elitist boys’ school” who are now “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The therapist, Ford said, had confused the number of people involved in the alleged attack with the total number of people in the house.
Although Ford said she initially wanted to remain anonymous, she later changed her mind after Kavanaugh’s defenders argued that the allegations were unfair.
“Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation,” Ford told The Post. She added that the incident “derailed me substantially for four or five years” and that “I was very ill-equipped to forge those kinds of relationships” going forward.
Republicans had accused Feinstein of orchestrating a last-minute smear after she announced she had forwarded the then-anonymous account of sexual assault to the FBI. Fox News later confirmed that the letter sent to Feinstein involved an allegation about Kavanaugh while a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md., in the 1980s.
After Ford’s interview was published Sunday, Feinstein said Kavanaugh’s confirmation should be delayed pending a federal investigation.
“From the outset, I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character,” Feinstein wrote. “I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee.”
On Sunday, before Ford’s name came to light, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy called the confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh “an intergalactic freak show” and said he was embarrassed for Congress by the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at the Supreme Court nominee.
“So far, it’s pretty much been an intergalactic freak show,” Kennedy told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Most Americans are looking at this – most mainstream Americans – and they’re thinking that Congress has hit rock bottom and started to dig.”
Matt Leach, Alex Pappas and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.