Seven days after Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a second woman has done the same. Colorado-based Deborah Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a party their freshman year at Yale University, a claim that, like Ford’s, both Kavanaugh and the White House have denied and called “smears, pure and simple” by the left.
Here, what we know about Ramirez, her allegations and how the increasing claims of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh could impact his confirmation process.
Who is Deborah Ramirez
Ramirez, 53, attended Yale University, where she studied sociology and psychology, with Kavanaugh, graduating in 1987 alongside the nominee. Raised a “devout Catholic” in Connecticut, she currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she spent several years working for an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence. A registered Democrat, Ramirez, who was photographed for an article in The New Yorker wearing a sweatshirt that reads “Puerto Rico,” told the publication she “works toward human rights, social justice, and social change,” but insisted she was not politically motivated to speak out about the alleged sexual misconduct.
What Ramirez Alleges Happened During the College Party
During the 1983-84 school year, Ramirez alleges that both she and Kavanaugh attended a college party at a dorm room in the university’s Lawrence Hall. Ramirez, who was hesitant at first to tell her story because she was inebriated and her memory of the evening is a bit hazy, says she was playing a drinking game when a male student pointed a plastic penis in her direction. Later, an intoxicated Ramirez was on the floor, slurring her words, as the male student and his friend stood nearby. A third male student, who she says was Kavanaugh, then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she told the The New Yorker. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” At the same time, she didn’t think it was a real penis, recalling students around her laughing at her confusion. One encouraged her to “kiss it.” She said no, pushing the person away and touching his penis in the process. She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right while 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 also remembers 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.” Ramirez says she was “embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated” about what happened, telling her loved ones that an incident occurred but never opening up about the details.
What Kavanaugh, the White House and Friends Are Saying About the Allegations
Kavanaugh denies all allegations against him, including Ford’s assertions that the nominee pinned her to a bed, covering her mouth, as he attempted to undress her as high school students in a Maryland suburb. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein on Monday, Kavanaugh called both claims “character assassinations.” “They are smears, pure and simple. And they debate our public discourse. But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Such grotesque and obvious character assassinations — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.” President Trump supported Kavanaugh, tweeting, “The Democrats are working hard to destroy a wonderful man … with an array of False Acquisitions,” misspelling the word “accusations.”
In the past three days, friends of both Ramirez and Kavanaugh have stepped up to support both claims. One of the male classmates who Ramirez said encouraged Kavanaugh, said he does not believe the incident occurred. “I don’t think Brett would flash himself to Debbie, or anyone, for that matter,” he told The New Yorker. The other male classmate who Ramirez said was involved, said he did not remember the misconduct or the party: “I have zero recollection.” But before Ramirez spoke out, other classmates were emailing each other about the incident. One of them, who has chosen to be anonymous, told the publication that he is “100 percent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh exposed himself to Ramirez. “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.” According to the former classmate, the behavior wasn’t uncommon among the social group that Kavanaugh belonged to. At Yale, Kavanaugh was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, which several students say was known for throwing “wild,” “misogynistic” parties, and was also a part of an all-male secret society, Truth and Courage, which had the nickname “Tit and Clit.”
Will Ramirez Testify
While The New Yorker published Ramirez’s story on Sunday, senior Republican staffers were already familiar with her allegations and, instead of investigating the claims, they attempted to speed up the confirmation process. Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegation that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were teenagers, but it is still not clear whether Ramirez will testify with her, though she is allowed to should she choose to. She is, however, calling on the FBI to investigate her claims.
How Could This Impact Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Process
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he swore under oath that as a legal adult he had never “committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature.” But by his freshman year of college, Kavanaugh was 18 years old, legally an adult. An FBI investigation finding Ramirez’s claims to be true would make Kavanaugh’s declarations under oath false or misleading. Even more, what was expected to be a swift and sure confirmation has descended into uncertainty, as Republicans are growing concerned that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh are upsetting women in their districts and could lead to more GOP losses in the midterm elections.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate on Thursday regarding her allegations.