WASHINGTON — A California clinical psychology professor has come forward as the woman who wrote a letter to lawmakers recounting an incident in the early 1980s when she says that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh pinned her down and sexually assaulted her during a high school party.
The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, agreed to go public with her story to The Washington Post, after calling the publication’s tip line earlier this summer, before President Trump nominated him but when it was clear he was being considered.
Kavanaugh, in a statement to the New Yorker that was published on Friday, said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on his nomination Thursday, with the full Senate considering his confirmation the following week.
Ford said that she had been reluctant to identify herself publicly for fear that it would disrupt her life, but she decided to as her letter and the story leaked. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said.
She believes that the incident occurred in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and going to an all-girls school in Bethesda, Md. She knew Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, who went to the nearby all-boys Georgetown Prep.
She claims that at a party, where the students were drinking, Kavanaugh held her down on a bed and groped her and then tried to pull off her bathing suit. He put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream, she said. She broke away and ran from the room when Judge jumped on top of them.
Ford is a professor at Palo Alto University and trains graduate students in clinical psychology, according to the Post.
According to the Post, she sent a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) in late July, and that was forwarded to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
A former FBI agent administered a polygraph test in August, and concluded that she was being truthful, the Post reported. She also produced notes from her therapist.
“From the outset, I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character,” Feinstein said in a statement. “However, as we have seen over the past few days, they also come at a price for the victim. I hope the attacks and shaming of her will stop and this will be treated with the seriousness it deserves.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee, under Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), on Friday released a letter from 65 women who say they knew Kavanaugh in high school and said that he “always treated women with decency and respect.”
After Ford came forward, the committee released a new statement, saying, “It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July.” The noted that Kavanaugh already had been vetted by the FBI, and called on Feinstein to publicly release the letter she received in July “so that everyone can know what she’s known for weeks.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he would be willing to listen to Ford if she would bring her information to the committee, but said that “it should be done immediately so that the process can continue as scheduled.”
Another member of the committee, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) told Politico that “if they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she’s had to say, I’m not comfortable voting yes. We need to hear from her. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.”