Sexual misconduct allegations have surfaced against Brett Kavanaugh
As the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh progresses, many of his opponents have continued to raise concerns about what his appointment would mean for women. Much of the criticism about Kavanaugh has centered on his ambiguous views on the landmark court case Roe v. Wade, as well as his past comments on birth control. And now, past sexual misconduct allegations have emerged against the former judge.
The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported today, September 14th, that an unnamed woman made the allegations to multiple members of Congress. In a letter addressed to her representative, Democrat Anna Eshoo, she claimed that Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to force himself on her during a high school party in the 1980s. She wrote that while she managed to escape, the event caused psychological trauma.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who led the questioning of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing, also read the letter, but reportedly chose not to tell other members of Congress about it. However, on September 13th, Feinstein announced that she had reported the accusations to the FBI.
"I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court," she wrote in a statement posted to her website. "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."
Kavanaugh dismissed the accusation in a statement to The New Yorker:
"I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation," his statement read. "I did not do this back in high school or at any time."
A classmate who was reportedly with him on the night of the attempted assault also said that he had “no recollection of that.”
After the New Yorker report was published, Senator Chuck Grassley, the head of the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement to BuzzFeed News saying that, despite the allegations, Kavanaugh’s vote is still scheduled for Thursday, September 20th. Grassley also released a letter from 65 women who claimed to know Kavanaugh in high school.
"For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect," the letter read in part.
More details of this case will likely emerge in the coming days. In the meantime, we stand with the woman who came forward, and with all victims of sexual harassment and assault.