This week, the existence of a letter that detailed sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was revealed to the public. Now, The New Yorker has shared more details about the alleged incident:
The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.
Kavanaugh, in a statement to The New Yorker, denied any of this happened: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
According to The New Yorker, “[i]n recent months, the woman had told friends that Kavanaugh’s nomination had revived the pain of the memory, and that she was grappling with whether to go public with her story.” This summer, she sent a letter detailing the allegations to her representative in Congress, Anna Eshoo, and also contacted Senator Feinstein’s office directly. But it appears from The New Yorker’s reporting that, after “watching Kavanaugh move toward what looked like an increasingly assured confirmation,” she ended the attempt to come forward.
Republicans, in response to the allegations, are leaning on the narrative that Kavanaugh is a respectful man with an impeccable record on his treatment of women. On Friday, Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement signed by more than five dozen women who knew Kavanaugh in high school, which states that “[t]hrough the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. 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.”
Feinstein, who neglected to inform her fellow Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the contents of the letter until this Wednesday evening, has couched her handling of the woman’s allegations of sexual assault as respect for the woman’s privacy.
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“We couldn’t understand what their rationale is for not briefing members on this. This is all very weird,” a source told The New Yorker.
Another source expressed dismay about Feinstein’s withholding of information from her fellow committee members: “She’s had the letter since late July. And we all just found out about it.”
Certainly raises some questions, and not just about Kavanaugh.