For a week, a scandal has grown over an anonymous accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I previously wrote about the unfairness of this last minute accusation from an unnamed law professor who declined to be named. Moreover, the underlying letter has been in the possession of Democrats since July. Now, the mystery is over: Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to say that she is indeed the accuser of Kavanaugh. It appears that the earlier leaks and media reports that this was a Stanford law professor were untrue. She is shown here from her high school yearbook picture. Notably, her lawyer has said that she passed a polygraph examination that found her account was truthful.
The alleged attack occurred when Ford went upstairs to use the bathroom at a party with four or so people that was held in Maryland. That is when she said that Kavanaugh grabbed her and forced her into a bedroom. Ford is quoted in The Washington Post that she had feared Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill” her while he was holding her down on the bed and groping her in 1982. She says that another boy watched as Kavanaugh tried to rape her.
She said that she tried to cry out but Kavanaugh had turned the music up at the party and closed the door. She said that her opportunity arose when a friend of Kavanaugh came into the room and jumped on both of them. That friend is Mark Judge, a writer who categorically denies that the incident occurred as does Kavanaugh himself. Judge referred to the account as s “absolutely nuts.”
Ford says that she did discuss the alleged attempted rape in couples therapy with her husband about five years ago. Russell Ford has supported that account.
Ford says that she was traumatized for years by the experience. However, there is no indication that she ever made a formal compliant to the police or previously raised the issue during Kavanaugh’s prior confirmation hearings. There remains the question of why Ford did not go public earlier when Kavanaugh was nominated for the D.C. Circuit or why she wanted Congress to know about the allegation but said that she did not want to go come forward herself. Ford is an established academic who would clearly be supported in coming forward to report an attempted rape.
Now that the identity of the accuser is known, it will be possible to look at supporting or conflicting accounts. Did she share the allegation of an attempted rape with friends at the time? Is there any record of seeking medical assistance or injuries? She says that she called a government official about reporting the incident at the time but there does not appear to be a record. She also said that she received medical attention, but again produced no record.
The polygraph is the most interesting dynamic element. While not admissible in court, the accuracy of polygraphs are often put between 70 and 90 percent when conducted properly. I have been counsel in polygraph cases and there can be serious problems raised in the performance of the tests.
Ford also teaches at Stanford University in the Department of Psychiatry and previously taught as a research psychologist for Stanford University’s Department of Psychiatry and a professor at the Stanford School Of Medicine Collaborative Clinical Psychology Program.
Ford has an impressive array of academic degrees. She was an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Master’s Degree in psychology at Pepperdine University (where she also briefly taught). She also has a a PhD in Educational Psychology: Research Design from the University of Southern California as well as Master’s in Education from Stanford University.
Here is the letter: