The woman who wrote a confidential letter accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school says she feared for her life during the attack.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Christine Blasey Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California, told The Washington Post in an interview published Sunday.
“He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing,” Ford said.
The Post interview marks the first time that Ford has allowed her name to be disclosed since her accusations against Kavanaugh became public last week. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
In a statement to NBC News on Sunday, the White House said, "On Friday, Judge Kavanaugh 'categorically and unequivocally' denied this allegation. This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement."
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Thursday. But after the Post published Ford's account on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the vote to be delayed until, "at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated."
“For too long, when women have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored,” Schumer said. “That cannot happen in this case. … To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court.”
Other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee also called for the vote to be delayed, including Sen. Dick Durbin, who called on the FBI to "complete a professional investigation" of what he called "serious and credible allegations."
"We also must respect and listen to Dr. Ford, who is now a target of personal attacks because she had the courage to come forward," the Illinois Democrat said in a statement.
Republicans, however, showed no signs of budging. Grassley's office issued a statement that called Ford's account "uncorroborated allegations" and noted that no such accusations had turned up during the six times the FBI has looked into Kavanaugh's background over his decades of public service. The statement also blasted Democrats' "tactics and motives" for bringing the allegations to light just days before the committee is set to vote.
According to the Post, Ford is a professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University, training graduate students in clinical psychology. Her work has been widely published in academic journals.
Ford said she decided to come forward and tell her story after a bare-bones version of the events became public without her name and consent, prompting a denial from Kavanaugh and throwing his nomination into turmoil.
According to Ford, the attack occurred one summer during the early 1980s when she and Kavanaugh attended a gathering with other teenagers at a house in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ford contends that Kavanaugh and a friend, both of whom she described as “stumbling drunk,” corralled her into a bedroom.
While his friend watched, Ford said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes. Kavanaugh grinded his body against hers and attempted to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it, she said. 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 all them, sending all three of them tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled from the house.
Ford described the attack in late July in a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who honored Ford’s request for confidentiality but referred the matter to FBI. The bureau added it to Kavanaugh's background investigation file but is not pursuing a criminal investigation.
The Post said Ford also had contacted the paper through a tip line in early June when it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on the short list for the Supreme Court nomination.
Ford said she never told anyone about the attack until 2012, when she was in couple’s therapy with her husband.
The Post said portions of the therapist’s notes were made available to the paper and that, while Kavanaugh wasn’t mentioned by name, the records indicated that Ford told her therapist that she had been attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.”
Notes from an individual therapy session the following year show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.
Ford’s husband, Russell Ford, told The Post that in their 2012 therapy sessions, she recounted the attack and that she used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that he might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court. Ford also took a polygraph test, administered by a former FBI agent, on the advice of her attorney in early August, the paper said. The test concluded she was being truthful when she said a statement summarizing her allegations was accurate.
Ford said she does not remember some key details of the incident but believes it occurred in the summer of 1982, when she was 15, around the end of her sophomore year at the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda. Kavanaugh would have been 17 at the end of his junior year at Georgetown Prep.
The Post said when it sought comment on Sunday, the White House forwarded a statement Kavanaugh issued last week: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
Judge also has denied in newspaper interviews that the incident occurred.
In addition, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have released a letter of support from 65 women who knew the 53-year-old federal appeals court judge during his high school years at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys Jesuit school in Bethesda, Maryland.
"For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect," the letter said.
Feinstein said Sunday that the FBI should investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh before the committee moves forward with his nomination.
“It has always been Mrs. Ford’s decision whether to come forward publicly,” the senator said. “For any woman, sharing an experience involving sexual assault—particularly when it involves a politically connected man with influence, authority and power—is extraordinarily difficult.”
“From the outset,” Feinstein said, “I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character. 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."