The allegations of attempted sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are shocking, unsettling, and substantial. After a closer examination of them, though, they also appear to be false.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a house party in the early 1980s, when he was 17 years old and she was just 15. According to her account of the alleged crime in The Washington Post:
Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
Both Kavanaugh and Judge vehemently deny the allegations, but that is far from the only evidence against their veracity.
Blasey Ford admits that the first time she told anyone about the alleged incident was more than 30 years after the fact; in a couples therapy session in 2012. She told no one about it--not a parent, friend, or other relative--in the hours, days, weeks, months, years, or even decades after it occurred. The statute of limitations for prosecution has long since passed, but would investigators look into these allegations, they would first look for contemporaneous accounts. Did the alleged victim tell anyone else about the incident in its aftermath, thereby making it more likely that it did in fact occur?
Blasey Ford did not. Crucially, when she first discussed it three decades later, she either was unable to remember key details or got them wrong altogether. Her therapist's noted from their 2012 session indicate that four men were in the room with Blasey Ford, not merely Judge and Kavanaugh. Blasey Ford claims that this was an error on the part of her therapist, but this is unlikely.
Since therapists generally have a duty to report evidence of a crime (especially a crime as serious as alleged rape), Blasey Ford's therapist would have made sure that her notes were as accurate as possible in case she had to use them in an interaction with law enforcement.
"All psychologists are potentially mandated to report sexual assault, especially if it happened prior to age of consent," said one practicing psychologist who wished to remain nameless. "The length of time between the assault and the report complicates things, but trust me, if Ford had revealed to her therapist that she had been assaulted, that therapist would have been taking very precise notes and working to pin down the details."
The discrepancy over the number of people in the room was not the only problem with Blasey Ford's account, however. She was unable to remember the year in which the alleged incident took place (she thinks it was 1982). She is unable to remember where the alleged incident took place (she believes it was at a home in Montgomery County, Maryland). She doesn't remember how she got there, how she got home, or whether Kavanaugh and Judge followed her to the bedroom where the alleged incident took place or whether they were already there when she went in.
She also never mentioned Kavanaugh by name as her alleged assailant until six years after the therapy session--when she wrote a letter about the alleged incident and sent it to...her Congresswoman, Anna Eshoo (D-CA) days after President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In the letter, Blasey Ford makes it clear that she does not want the matter to be investigated and does not want to come forward publicly with her allegations, but she wants Eshoo to know about them.
Why? Why, of all people to anonymously inform about serious criminal allegations would she choose a Democratic Congresswoman? And why, if she wanted to remain anonymous and not pursue criminal charges, would she write the letter in the first place?
The letter, of course, was passed on to Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) office and Feinstein...did nothing. Why not? If she believed that a future United States Supreme Court justice had committed a crime, why did she not alert the proper authorities immediately? Even if one to were charitably assume that Feinstein was willing to put this obvious political bombshell aside for the sake of the accuser's wishes, why didn't she one even make an oblique reference to this incident during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing? As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein had ample opportunity to ask Kavanaugh directly about this incident or, if she wanted to protect Blasey Ford's anonymity, to ask Kavanaugh generally about whether he had ever faced allegations of sexual misconduct. She did not.
Why not? Why did Feinstein wait until three days after Kavanaugh's hearings were complete to release a statement indicating that her office was in possession of the letter? And, critically, since she was supposedly holding the letter back to respect Blasey Ford's wishes, why did she make a public show of taking the allegations to the FBI in direct contravention of those wishes? The FBI, incidentally, immediately reviewed the allegations and determined them to be unworthy of a criminal investigation.
“Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,” the Bureau told The New Yorker in a statement.
Even more peculiar than Feinstein's handling of the allegations was Blasey Ford's decision to text The Washington Post's tip line in July and report them, calling it her "civic duty" to do so.
"She and I talked then," Washington Post reporter Emma Brown told MSNBC on Monday. "She even then really didn't want to come forward. She just wanted someone to know what had happened to her. Over the summer she struggled and tried to figure out basically what she was going to do with this information. She said she had a civic duty to tell it, but she also understood that it would mean that if she came forward it was going to change her life."
What could Blasey Ford possibly have meant by "civic duty?" It couldn't have meant filing criminal charges against Kavanaugh, because she made it clear that she didn't want either Congresswoman Eshoo or Post reporter Brown to go to the authorities with her allegations.
Could it have meant instead using her allegations to keep Kavanaugh off of the Supreme Court? Why else contact both the media and government but tell both not to go to the authorities? Could she possibly have been trying all along to derail Kavanaugh's nomination through an anonymous accusation? And could she have been insisting on anonymity because she is so hazy about the details of the alleged incident and can't in fact be sure that (if said incident did indeed occur) Kavanaugh was the young man responsible?
Consider this: Just weeks before Blasey Ford told a Washington Post reporter that it was her "civic duty" to come forward with these allegations--which, it should be noted, the Post apparently did not deem credible enough to run with for two months--Blasey Ford signed on to an open letter from mental health professionals blasting the Trump Administration's family separation policy.
In the letter, entitled “America’s Health Professionals Appeal to Trump Administration: End Family Separation at Border Immediately,” Ford and several dozen others argued that "it should not be U.S. policy to traumatize children, and especially not as a form of indirect punishment of their parents."
The debate over family separation was an intense one, but was it so intense that it would prompt an opponent of it to try to use her real or imagined connection to President Trump's Supreme Court nominee in an effort to stop his confirmation? Could that have been what she meant by her "civic duty?"
Or could it have been near-constant news stories in the days (and even hours) after Kavanaugh was nominated about how the Supreme Court could now strike down Roe v. Wade? According to OpenSecrets.org, Blasey Ford has made dozens of donations to the pro-abortion group Emily's List. In addition, she is a registered Democrat who has donated to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, The Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Committee, and ActBlue.
Could her "civic duty" really mean helping her party defeat President Trump's nominee any way she could? Why else mention Kavanaugh's name for the first time as her attacker in a letter to a partisan Democrat? While it's true that every victim deals with sexual assault or attempted assault in their own way, this may be the first recorded case of an alleged victim dealing with her trauma by contacting a Democratic Congresswoman.
Blasey Ford's rather obvious partisanship and political activism doesn't end with her political donations, either. In March, she attended the anti-Trump March for Science while wearing a knitted human brain hat modeled after the infamous vagina hats made popular during the Women's March. The San Jose Mercury News reported on the March and even quoted Blasey Ford herself:
“It’s a science party!” said biostatistician Christine Blasey, of Palo Alto, who will wear an elaborately knitted cap of the human brain — yarn turned into a supersized cerebral cortex — inspired by the “pussy hats” donned during the Women’s Marches.
“Getting introverted people to the march — that’s huge,” she laughed.
Blasey Ford's extreme partisanship provides ample motive for her to either falsely or mistakenly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault, but she may have a more personal vendetta against him. In 1996, her parents' home was foreclosed upon. The Montgomery County Circuit Court judge who ruled against them? Brett Kavanaugh's mother, Martha.
Possible motive for lying aside, a far more problematic issue with her accusations is that they are quite simply unverifiable. She did not share them with anyone in the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, making it impossible for anyone else to corroborate them. Kavanaugh has passed six different federal background checks dating back to 1993 without a single issue of sexual misconduct being raised, indicating no pattern of repeated behavior which investigators look for when looking into years-old cases.
Blasey Ford does not remember key details of the alleged incident and did not mention Kavanaugh as her alleged attacker until he was named to the Supreme Court by the opposing political party's president and only did so in a letter to one of her political party's congressional representatives and a call to the media even though she supposedly wanted nothing to come of her allegations.
In light of the significant problems with those allegations on top of their utterly unverifiable nature, it is rather apparent that they should not be used to derail Kavanaugh's nomination and certainly should not be used to destroy his life.