Ka­vanaugh’s ac­cuser was part of wild nightlife

Delaware beach res­i­dents re­call stu­dent par­ties from ‘yup­pie pe­riod’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER AND SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

DEWEY BEACH, DEL. | Chris­tine Blasey Ford grew up in Wash­ing­ton’s af­flu­ent Mary­land sub­urbs, grad­u­ated from an ex­pen­sive all-girls pri­vate high school and spent sum­mers im­mersed in the wild nightlife of this Eastern Shore re­sort town.

She went on to be­come a clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at Palo Alto Uni­ver­sity in Cal­i­for­nia, hav­ing earned a psy­chol­ogy de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, mas­ter’s de­grees at Pep­per­dine and Stan­ford, and a Ph.D. in ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

But it was those early days — when she was known as Chrissy Blasey, a stu­dent at the Holton-Arms School who ran with stu­dents from a net­work of ex­clu­sive tony schools just across the bor­der from the Dis­trict of Columbia — that have landed her at the cen­ter of the most ex­plo­sive Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion bat­tle in decades.

First in a con­fi­den­tial let­ter to Se­nate Democrats and then in a Wash­ing­ton Post in­ter­view, Ms. Blasey Ford ac­cused Judge Brett M. Ka­vanaugh, a stu­dent at an­other ex­pen­sive pri­vate school, of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her at a high school party 36 years ago, when she was 15 and he was 17.

She said he was stum­bling drunk when he forced her onto a bed, tried to strip off her clothes and sti­fled her cries for help — all while his friend watched the strug­gle.

Judge Ka­vanaugh ve­he­mently de­nies her al­le­ga­tion, and his sup­port­ers say it’s com­pletely con­trary to what they know about him.

Mean­while, Ms. Blasey Ford’s fam­ily, friends and peo­ple she has never known but who at­tended her school say they be­lieve her, say her story is all too fa­mil­iar to many other fe­male stu­dents and say it should dis­qual­ify the judge from el­e­va­tion to the Supreme Court.

“We be­lieve that Chrissy has acted bravely by voic­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences from the past, and we know how dif­fi­cult this is for her,” her hus­band and other close fam­ily mem­bers said in an open let­ter posted on­line Thurs­day. “Chrissy is not some­one who chooses to be in the spot­light. We ask that her de­ci­sion to share a pri­vate and dif­fi­cult rec­ol­lec­tion be treated se­ri­ously and re­spect­fully.”

It is plau­si­ble that Judge Ka­vanaugh and Ms. Blasey Ford would know each other. They trav­eled in the same sub­ur­ban cir­cles: He at Ge­orge­town Prep, the Je­suit boys’ school that molds the sons of priv­i­lege, and she at the all-girl’s bas­tion for the daugh­ters of the lib­eral elite.

Stu­dents from the two schools in Bethesda, Mary­land, reg­u­larly so­cial­ized, and the fam­i­lies in those cir­cles of­ten va­ca­tioned on the beaches of Delaware and Mary­land — Ms. Blasey Ford among them.

Long­time res­i­dents of Dewey Beach, a Delaware re­sort known in the late 1980s as a place where the col­lege stu­dents who worked the other re­sorts lived and par­tied, re­mem­ber her nights wait­ress­ing at the Water­front, a rau­cous bay­side bar.

“Things that would be con­sid­ered out of hand to­day was OK back then. Things have changed,” said a man who en­coun­tered Ms. Blasey Ford dur­ing those years, speak­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Times on the con­di­tion of anonymity. “That was the yup­pie pe­riod of time, and Dewey Beach was a yup­pie town, and week­end war­riors were com­ing down from D.C. It was their Ve­gas.”

Ms. Blasey Ford was a pop­u­lar fig­ure on the Dewey Beach bar scene.

She once got caught in a ro­man­tic tri­an­gle that cul­mi­nated with the two men get­ting into a fist­fight over her, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­ci­dent.

“She en­joyed the Dewey Beach nightlife,” said an­other res­i­dent speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity. The res­i­dent, now a restau­rant owner, added that the town was “pretty wild” in those days.

Lisa Banks, one of Ms. Blasey Ford’s at­tor­neys, did not an­swer The Times’ ques­tions about her client’s Dewey Beach past.

Ms. Blasey Ford’s stint at the Water­front co­in­cides with a time in her life when her ca­reer path was un­cer­tain, ac­cord­ing to her friends.

She strug­gled aca­dem­i­cally late in high school and early in col­lege be­fore steady­ing her­self, Jim Gen­sheimer, one of her close friends in Palo Alto, told The Mer­cury News in San Jose.

By 1988, Ms. Blasey Ford grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of North Carolina, headed to Cal­i­for­nia and sel­dom looked back.

She spent three years at Pep­per­dine and earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy. She went on to earn a doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­ogy in 1996.

Three years later, she re­turned to Pep­per­dine to work as a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor and then was hired by Palo Alto Uni­ver­sity in 2012 to teach as part of a con­sor­tium with Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity as a re­search psy­chol­o­gist and bio­statis­ti­cian. Col­leagues there have de­scribed her to news re­porters as re­served.

Her aca­demic writ­ings are widely pub­lished. In 2015, Ms. Blasey Ford and He­lena Ch­mura Krae­mer co-au­thored the sec­ond edi­tion of “How Many Sub­jects? Sta­tis­ti­cal Power Anal­y­sis in Re­search.”

But she said she kept the mem­o­ries of the at­tempted as­sault to her­self un­til 2012 when, dur­ing cou­ples ther­apy with her hus­band, Rus­sell Ford, she brought it up.

She mar­ried Mr. Ford, an en­gi­neer, in 2002. The cou­ple have two teenage sons.

The en­tire fam­ily surfs, and they split their time be­tween a beach house in Santa Cruz and a home in Palo Alto.

Friends told The Mer­cury News that the fam­ily eats or­gan­i­cally and drives hy­brid ve­hi­cles that they plug into a charg­ing sta­tion in their drive­way.

Other friends de­scribed her as lib­eral, chatty and ded­i­cated to her fam­ily and her ca­reer as an ed­u­ca­tor.

Ms. Blasey Ford em­braces left-wing pol­i­tics and op­poses Pres­i­dent Trump. Last year, she joined a women’s march against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Gen­sheimer, who has known Ms. Blasey Ford for more than eight years, said her story about Judge Ka­vanaugh rings true.

“She clearly has noth­ing to gain and much to lose by go­ing public with her story. I know from things she has told me, in­clud­ing her need to have more than one exit door in her be­d­room to pre­vent her from be­ing trapped, that this event was se­ri­ous enough to have a last­ing im­pact on her life,” he said in an email to The Times.

Ms. Blasey Ford’s al­le­ga­tions, which threaten to up­end Judge Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion to the high court, have made her a celebrity on the left and of the #MeToo move­ment.

Her class­mates and fel­low alum­nae from Holton-Arms singed a let­ter to Congress vouch­ing for her hon­esty and in­tegrity. It said she came for­ward as an “act of civic duty.”

The sig­na­to­ries from Holton-Arms’ class of 1984 in­clude a se­nior coun­sel at a San An­to­nio law firm, a mid­dle school Latin teacher in Bethesda, the gen­eral coun­sel of the Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral in the Dis­trict of Columbia, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Med­i­cal School, a pro­fes­sor of En­vi­ron­men­tal Epi­demi­ol­ogy at the Har­vard School of Public Health, and the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of the Na­tional Busi­ness Group on Health.

Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus, a grad­u­ate of the class of 1979, also signed the let­ter.

The Hol­ly­wood star’s Twit­ter feed has been filled with anti-Ka­vanaugh posts. It in­cluded a link to a 1998 memo that Mr. Ka­vanaugh, then a lawyer work­ing for the in­de­pen­dent coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Clin­tons, wrote to boss Ken­neth W. Starr with a se­ries of hard-hit­ting — and sala­cious — ques­tions he pro­posed ask­ing Pres­i­dent Clin­ton about his re­la­tion­ship with Mon­ica Lewin­sky.

Seth McLaugh­lin re­ported from Wash­ing­ton.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Alum­nae of Holton-Arms School, which Chris­tine Blasey Ford at­tended, spoke Thurs­day to mem­bers of the me­dia about a let­ter they de­liv­ered to the of­fice of Sen. Shel­ley Moore Capito, also an alumna.

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