Brett Kavanaugh's former classmate at Yale, Deborah Ramirez, stepped forward on Sunday night accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.
Ramirez detailed her account of the alleged assault in an exclusive with The New Yorker after spending a week conferring with her attorney and attempting to piece together gaps of the story she can't remember.
According to Ramirez, she and Kavanaugh were both freshmen at Yale when they both attended a party at Lawrance Hall on-campus. The group of college students sat together in a circle and played a drinking game. Ramirez said she was repeatedly pick to drink and quickly became incoherent. She said one of the young men "pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction."
While she laid drunk on the floor in a fog, slurring her words that man and another male stood up. That's when a third male student (Kavanaugh) comes into the picture.
From The New Yorker:
A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that's not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
According to Ramirez, those around her thought what Kavanaugh allegedly did was a joke. Now, she says, it wasn't a joke at all.
Although The New Yorker says they haven't been able to confirm Ramirez's story, they've contacted dozens of Ramirez and Kavanaugh's former classmates to get their account of what occurred. Most didn't respond to an interview request, some outright refused but one came forward. Here's his account:
A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one hundred per cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez. He independently recalled many of the same details offered by Ramirez, including that a male student had encouraged Kavanaugh as he exposed himself. The classmate, like Ramirez, recalled that the party took place in a common room on the first floor in Entryway B of Lawrance Hall, during their freshman year. “I’ve known this all along,” he said. “It’s been on my mind all these years when his name came up. It was a big deal.” The story stayed with him, he said, because it was disturbing and seemed outside the bounds of typically acceptable behavior, even during heavy drinking at parties on campus. The classmate said that he had been shocked, but not necessarily surprised, because the social group to which Kavanaugh belonged often drank to excess. He recalled Kavanaugh as “relatively shy” until he drank, at which point he said that Kavanaugh could become “aggressive and even belligerent.”
Another classmate, Richard Oh, said he recalled overhearing a tearful young woman recounting what happened with the dildo and a male student exposing himself, although he wasn't sure who the female was.
Ramirez allegedly told her mother and sister that something "upsetting" took place that night but didn't go into details.
Those who Ramirez identified in her accusation – Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy – disagreed with her account of what occurred:
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”
The former friend who was married to the male classmate alleged to be involved, and who signed the statement said of Ramirez, “This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.” She said she hadn’t spoken with Ramirez for about ten years, but that the two women had been close all through college, and Kavanaugh had remained part of what she called their “larger social circle.” In an initial conversation with The New Yorker, she suggested that Ramirez may have been politically motivated. Later, she said that she did not know if this was the case.
One of Kavanaugh's former roommates, James Roche, believes Ramirez to be an honest, credible source:
“Debbie and I became close friends shortly after we both arrived at Yale,” he said. “She stood out as being exceptionally honest and gentle. I cannot imagine her making this up.” He said that he never witnessed Kavanaugh engage in any sexual misconduct, but did recall him being “frequently, incoherently drunk.” He described Ramirez as a vulnerable outsider. “Is it believable that she was alone with a wolfy group of guys who thought it was funny to sexually torment a girl like Debbie? Yeah, definitely. Is it believable that Kavanaugh was one of them? Yes.”
Another classmate, Jennifer Klaus, said Ramirez's account is plausible:
“Debbie’s always been a very truthful, kind—almost to the point of being selfless—individual.”
A third classmate who Ramirez said was at the party, who did not want to be named, was not there when the incident allegedly took place but she believes Ramirez to be credible.
Interestingly enough, Ramirez is a registered Democrat but says her decision to come forward was not politically motivated. She said she remained silent over this alleged assault because she blamed herself for drinking too much.
"It was a story that was known, but it was a story I was embarrassed about. Even if I did drink too much, any person observing it, would they want their daughter, their granddaughter, with a penis in their face, while they’re drinking that much?” Ramirez told The New Yorker. “I can say that at fifty-three, but when I was nineteen or twenty I was vulnerable. I didn’t know better.”
Ramirez places some blame on the male classmates for "not stopping this," although she feels "what Brett did is worse. What does it mean, that this person has a role in defining women’s rights in our future?”
Ramirez said she came forward to support Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's alleged assault.