Christine Blasey Ford sent an unusual Facebook message to her best friend in college this summer with a question: Did you ever mention a sexual assault when you were in high school?
Her friend, Catherine Piwowarski, her roommate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said she did not remember. At the time, he did not know that Dr. Ford was evaluating the hypothesis that Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh had sexually raped in the 1980s when both were teenagers in Maryland suburban.
Interviews with Dr. Ford's friends and acquaintances depict a portrait of a supervised person, one more interested in discussions about sport and science than about politics and personal trauma. His decision to become public this week with the explosive charge pushed her into an uncomfortable observation point and put her thirty-year-old memories at the center of a fight for the fate of the second candidate to the Supreme Court of President Trump.
The Democrats have indicated his accusation as a reason to disqualify Judge Kavanaugh. Republicans, without rejecting his request, questioned why his accusation was not transmitted before, before the hearings held at the beginning of this month. They also say that his memories are clear and imprecise but potentially clouded by a candidate who they consider extremely qualified for the court.
In recent days, Dr. Ford has faced online intimidation and death threats, and his family has moved from their home in northern California, his lawyers said. These harassment, his lawyers said Tuesday, made him reluctant to testify on Monday about the details of a night he rarely discussed and said he had trouble remembering. While he initially agreed to testify, his lawyers said he would do so only after an investigation by the FBI on his allegations, which the Republicans rejected, saying that nothing new would be learned.
Christine Blasey Ford
- Born: November 1966
- Education: graduated from the Holton-Arms School of Bethesda, Maryland, in 1984. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Pepperdine University; the University of Southern California and Stanford.
- Career and details: Dr. Ford is a professor of psychology and statistics at the University of Palo Alto, which teaches in a consortium with Stanford University. He has collaborated in the drafting of over 50 books and scientific publications on topics such as the relationship between child abuse and neglect and adult depression; post-traumatic growth after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; and if acupuncture is a useful treatment for depression during pregnancy.
- Family: husband, Russell Ford; two sons
- Political affiliation: democratic
Dr. Ford did not answer calls for a comment or answered the door this week at his home in Palo Alto, California, where he lives with her husband and two children. Even his lawyer Debra Katz did not respond to requests for further information.
Dr. Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist, said in a Washington Post article that she and Judge Kavanaugh were teenagers at a party in the early 1980s when he and a friend, whom she identified as Mark Judge , they pulled her into the bedroom. Judge Kavanaugh nailed her on the bed, attempted her and tried to take off her clothes before escaping, she said. Dr. Ford told the Post he did not tell anyone about the alleged incident in detail until a couple therapy session with her husband in 2012.
Judge Kavanaugh, 53, denied the accusation unequivocally, saying that he did not know who had filed the request until Dr. Ford identified himself in Sunday's history.
"I've never done anything like what the prosecutor describes, to you or anyone," he said.
Mr. Judge told lawmakers that he has no memory of the alleged incident.
Dr. Ford's friends describe her as credible and trustworthy; Judge Kavanaugh defended him as respectful and honorable.
Dr. Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, graduated from the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, all the girls, not far from Georgetown's preparatory school judge, Kavanaugh. High school classmates remembered her as a kind and popular cheerleader who played soccer and was part of the divers team.
"She was one of the nicest," said Eliza Knable, who was in the same class as high school but was not part of the same group of friends as Dr. Ford.
Many Holton Arms students have socialized or frequented nearby prep schools, including Judge Kavanaugh, said Samantha Semerad Guerry. He was among a group of Holton students of the class of 1984 who signed a letter to the legislators in support of Dr. Ford.
"A friend said:" If you can not prove it, do not put your pen on paper ", said Mrs. Guerry about Dr. Ford's statement. "He is not overly sentimental, he has brought logistical reasoning."
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The friends of Judge Kavanaugh are equally convinced to be a man of honor incapable of the offenses described by Dr. Ford.
"In every situation we were together, he was always respectful, kind and caring," said Maura Kane, who attended him in high school, in a statement. "The charges against him do not represent in any way the decent young man I knew."
None of Dr. Ford's high school or college friends interviewed for this story remembered talking about the alleged party incident. Betsy Kingsley, a high school friend, said she recalled a different meeting that both Dr. Ford and Mr. Judge attended during her second year of high school.
Friends said it was clear that Dr. Ford was traumatized decades later. Jim Gensheimer, a friend of Palo Alto, said he confided in him that he needed more than one door in his bedroom to keep her from feeling trapped.
She told some classmates that she was worried that the advent would diminish her privacy, Ms. Guerry said.
In July, Dr. Ford sent a tip to the Post and wrote a letter to his Congress representative, Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.), Who encouraged her to contact Senator Dianne Feinstein, in the rankings on judicial system of the Senate Committee. He wanted to tell his story in confidence "so that the legislators had a full understanding of the character and history of Brett Kavanaugh," said Ms. Katz, her attorney, in a letter to the committee. After the journalists took over the letter, Dr. Ford came forward to tell his story in his own words, wrote Mrs. Katz, well known in Washington for her work that represented women in the #MeToo movement against the sexual harassment.
Professor Christine Blasey Ford recently accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was in high school. Gerald F. Seib of the WSJ observes the three senators who could delay the vote on the candidate. Photo: Getty
Friends say that Dr. Ford is not very political. Federal documents show that Dr. Ford, a registered Democrat, has made three donations since January 2017 for a total of $ 42 to Act Blue, an online service that provides a one-stop donation platform used by Democrats looking for an office.
The recent publicity Dr. Ford has received is at odds with the quiet professional life he has built for himself.
After high school, Dr. Ford threw herself into her studies, spending much of her time working in research laboratories, Mrs. Piwowarski said.
At Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where he earned a master's degree, he learned to surf and met Brian Merrick, a keen surfer, through mutual friends. They started dating around the end of 1991, which blossomed into an eight-year relationship, said Mr. Merrick, adding that it was "sweet, pretty and with a good attitude". He met and became fond of his family in Washington, DC area, which describes his father as a self-made man whose conservative views sometimes clashed with his liberal vision. But Merrick has never seen her involved or worked for a political cause.
At no point in their report did he mention an incident involving Judge Kavanaugh – whose name he had never heard before – or no case of sexual violence.
"It seems strange to me that it never came out in our relationship," Merrick said. "But I would never try to discredit what he says or what he believes."
Dr. Ford's studies led to a brilliant career in psychology. He has collaborated in the drafting of over 50 books and scientific publications on topics such as the relationship between child abuse and neglect and adult depression; post-traumatic growth after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; and if acupuncture is a useful treatment for depression during pregnancy.
After earning a doctorate from the University of Southern California, Dr. Ford worked as an associate researcher in psychology and biostatistics for Allan Reiss, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford Medical School.
Dr. Ford focused on quantitative analysis in studies involving children with "genetic and medical risk factors for sub-optimal behavioral outcomes", said Dr. Reiss, including rare conditions such as fragile X syndrome and 22q deletion syndrome.
"She was thoughtful, complete, collaborative, good-natured, and it's hard to be good-natured, sometimes, in that role, because many people might want the results to be in a certain direction or a certain nature, and sometimes they're not like that" , said dr. Reiss, director of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Brain Research Center. He has worked as a coauthor in many of his articles.
Subsequently the dott. Ford moved his main office to Palo Alto University, which runs programs in partnership with Stanford.
Samantha Buchman, who graduated from Dr. Ford's doctoral program in clinical psychology in 2017, said that Dr. Ford was talking about sports, not politics, in the classroom. "She likes to use many surf metaphors when she teaches why she is a surfer," he said.
Mrs. Piwowarski, the college roommate, said that Dr. Ford visited a few years ago in North Carolina before the 2016 presidential election, but they did not talk about politics. Instead they chatted about their experience by raising teenagers while their children played in a river.
-Jim Oberman, Paul Beckett, Jess Bravin and Lisa Schwartz contributed to this article.
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