Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Yale, is accusing him of exposing himself to her at a college party, and, at the goading of his friends, thrusting his penis into her face to laughter and calls of “kiss it.” Ramirez says she pushed him away, making unwanted contact, according to a Sunday New Yorker report.
Kavanaugh reportedly denied the allegation, calling it a “smear.” The White House sang the same tune, calling the accusation “uncorroborated” and part of a “smear campaign.”
For Ramirez, like Kavanaugh’s first accuser, professor Christine Blasey Ford, coming forward was a difficult decision. Both women were afraid of the abuse and attacks they knew they would sustain, as well as the full-scale PR effort Republicans would launch to discredit them and their stories. In addition, Ramirez admits that she was intoxicated at the time of the alleged attack, and knew that critics would latch onto that detail to dispute her story.
However, per the New Yorker, after days of huddling with her lawyer, Ramirez decided to come forward and is, like Blasey Ford, calling for an FBI investigation.
For Ramirez, some details of the night are still fuzzy and she admits that there are blank spaces in her memory. But she does remember a penis being thrust in her face and Kavanaugh pulling up his pants and laughing, while his friend shouted “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,” down the hallway.
As the New Yorker points out, Kavanaugh was 18 by the time this alleged incident occurred, which means he would have broken his oath at his Senate hearings that, as a legal adult, he never “committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature.”
No eyewitnesses have yet confirmed the allegation. The New York Times similarly failed to lock down people with first-hand knowledge of the alleged episode. “The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate [Ramirez’s] story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge,” says a Sunday report. “Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”
Rumors about the alleged incident were reportedly so rampant among Yale graduates, though, that the New Yorker heard about it and reached out to Ramirez first initially. In this way, they collected many accounts from people who heard about the alleged event secondhand.
One classmate told the New Yorker that he is “one-hundred-percent-sure” that he heard about the alleged incident in the days after the party, adding details of his own accord that matched Ramirez’s. “I’ve known this all along,” he told the New Yorker. “It’s been on my mind all these years when his name came up. It was a big deal.”
Another classmate, Richard Oh, said that he heard a female student describing the incident and crying after it happened, but does not recall the identities of the two.
Mark Krasberg, another classmate, told the New Yorker that he and his friends from Yale had been discussing Kavanaugh’s behavior in college, and said that the alleged exposure had come up.
Some of the male classmates who Ramirez remembered at the party, all of whom are good friends with Kavanaugh, deny the allegation and say it would have been “completely out of character for Brett.”
Still many other former classmates who did not know about the incident vouched for Ramirez’s personal honesty and integrity. “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,” said one, now-CEO James Roche. “Is it believable that Kavanaugh was one of them? Yes.”
Another unnamed classmate said that the alleged assault jived with how certain boys treated Ramirez in college. “They were always, like, ‘Debbie’s here!,’ and then they’d get into their ‘Lord of the Flies’ thing,” she told the New Yorker.
“It was a story that was known, but it was a story I was embarrassed about,” Ramirez told the New Yorker of the alleged episode. “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? I can say that at fifty-three, but when I was nineteen or twenty I was vulnerable. I didn’t know better.”
“They’re accountable for not stopping this,” she said of her other classmates present. “What Brett did is worse.”