Can Brett Kavanaugh be investigated for an attempted rape he allegedly committed over three decades ago? In Maryland, it’s entirely possible under the law, according to some experts. Now members of the American public are calling for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to open an investigation, especially if the FBI doesn’t.
Christine Blasey Ford, who says that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her during a party when both were high school students, has asked for the FBI to open an investigation. In a letter, she detailed the attack, saying that when she was about 15, and Kavanaugh was 17, he held her down, tried to pull off her swimsuit, and covered her mouth to stifle her protests, while he or his friend, Mark Judge, turned up music in the room so that others at the party wouldn’t hear her.
Ford has taken a lie detector test, and will testify before Congress. However, in a letter from her attorney, Ford requested that the Senate Judiciary Committee subject Kavanaugh to an investigation before the testimony, which the letter describes as
…by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is “mistaken” and “mixed up.”
Constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe and former federal prosecutor Renoto Mariotti discussed Kavanaugh’s possible risk of legal consequences Tuesday, pointing out that both Kavanaugh and Judge could potentially face charges in the state of Maryland, where they attended Georgetown Preparatory school, and where the assault is alleged to have happened. Maryland has no statute of limitations for some sexual offenses, according to RAINN. These include rape, attempted rape, and sexual abuse of a minor.
It's not entirely clear to me that he has no criminal exposure if there is no statute of limitations for attempted rape in Maryland.
But it's also not clear to me that he's taking the Fifth. Thus far he has just said that he doesn't want to testify. Most people don't.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 18, 2018
Good point. Maryland has no statute of limitations for rape or for assault, so it seems that both Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge remain potentially criminally liable for what Christine Blasey Ford alleges they did to her in high school. Nobody seems to be taking that into account https://t.co/b3Zf1IGXD4
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 18, 2018
In light of this information, some social media users are circulating pleas for Maryland AG Brian Frosh to get involved, tagging him in posts and contacting his office directly, as well as suggesting that Ford contact him herself to request an investigation.
If she wants an investigation and the FBI won't get involved, Ford could always file a police report in Maryland. There's no statute of limitations. https://t.co/lTt506yKjy
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) September 19, 2018
If Maryland doesn't have statute of limitations for the crime then @SenateDems needs to call for a criminal investigation of Kavanaugh
Now is not the time to be spineless
— Jonathan Jewel (@jonathanjewel) September 19, 2018
— Lloyd T Spencer (@lloyd_t_spencer) September 19, 2018
Ford has already provided some corroborating information, including case notes from a therapist she told about the attempted rape years ago, and her polygraph results. The New Civil Rights Movement has a copy of a letter from Christina King, a woman who knew Kavanaugh in his school years and heard about the attack when it happened, and says that many others knew of it too.
Baltimore attorney Randolph Rice tells Washington Post that it depends on the charge leveled — the assault, as described, could be considered to fall under offenses that do have statutes of limitations in Maryland, and if so, those have long expired.
However, RAINN’s charts (linked above) show that if the case was filed as an attempted rape, then the statute of limitations would not apply.
Donald Trump’s response to allegations that Brett Kavanaugh, as his pick for the Supreme Court, is facing accusations of attempting to rape a teenage girl, has been to say that he hopes Christine Blasey Ford will testify before Congress. According to NPR, he says he’ll have to see if she “makes a credible showing,” speaking as the only witness on her own behalf. However, he has also called the allegations ‘unfair,’ and tweeted to refer to them as something from “the Democrats’ playbook,” that Republican voters should ‘watch and study.’
CORRECTION: a previous version of this article incorrectly linked to and cited RAINN’s data for Maine rather than Maryland.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com