Some on Twitter See Grounds for Prosecution, Lawyers Aren’t So Sure

As hearings into Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court continue in the Senate Judiciary Committee, some of his critics have argued he still could face charges over the alleged incident with the Holton-Arms student.

It’s not that simple, according to lawyers contacted by MyMCMedia.

Kavanaugh, meanwhile, denies the charges. The Washington Post printed this statement from the federal judge: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

His accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, has agreed to testify before the committee on Thursday, according to news reports.

Among the loudest of Kavanaugh’s critics is Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. Here’s a post on her Twitter feed from Thursday night:

To summarize Maddow, Christine Blasey Ford accuses Kavanaugh of attempted rape, and it is a crime that does not have a statute of limitations in Maryland.

State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Rockville, has written Gov. Larry Hogan suggesting the Maryland State Police investigate.

“I think the us senate needs all plausible information about mr. Kavanaught charter before they appoint him to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” Kagan said Sunday.

However, the lawyers say, it depends on whether prosecutors can get evidence for an attempted rape charge.

Ford told the Post she believed the incident occurred during the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and a student at Holton-Arms School. Kavanaugh would have been 17, and a student at Georgetown Prep.

Kavanaugh, Ford and other students were at a Montgomery County home, in the family room drinking beer, she told the Post. She didn’t remember who owned the home, but she did remember that no parents were there.

Although the others were having one beer, she claimed Kavanaugh, and a friend Mark Judge were intoxicated. She left to use the bathroom and then she was pushed, by either Kavanaugh or Judge, into a bedroom. Kavanaugh held her down and tried to remove her clothes, she claimed.

She said she yelled, but Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth. Judge jumped on them and she was able to get free. She managed to lock herself into a bathroom. After five or 10 minutes, she left.

Based on the description, it could be a fourth-degree sex offense, the prosecutor said.

“It may change, but all we know is [Kavanaugh] tried to kiss and grope and tried to remove clothing. That’s a fourth-degree sex offense,” said a former Maryland prosecutor who would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

“It’s much closer to fourth degree. It’s battery with a sexual element to it,” that former prosecutor said.

A fourth-degree sex offense in Maryland carries a one-year statute of limitations, the prosecutor said.

Montgomery County police have said they have not received a complaint about the incident, and without a complaint, investigators cannot proceed with a case.

Suppose Ford had made the charge when it occurred in 1982. The former prosecutor said it likely would have been handled in juvenile court.

“Something like this, it’s highly unlikely this would have been handled in adult court,” the former prosecutor said.

If a complaint is filed now, and if a prosecution proceeds, it could start in juvenile court, even though the victim and defendant are in their 50s.

The case could be waived into adult court, but it would be up to a judge, the former prosecutor said.

State Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Kensington, was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep. During the early 80s, drinking was a part of high school.

“The emphasis on raising the drinking age and fighting drunk driving was just starting to bubble up in the culture,” Madaleno said. “I guess you could say they were binge drinkers before it was fashionable.”

He added: “Just because he and others were drinking a lot, A) it doesn’t excuse any behavior and, B) it doesn’t necessarily mean they assaulted anybody.”

As for specific memories about Kavanaugh, he had few.

“He was on football team. I was on the debate team,” Madaleno said. “Our whole high school experience is summarized just from that one sentence.”

He said he remembered Kavanaugh around, but couldn’t remember whether he had any classes with him.

“I was the oblivious person trying to keep my head down,” Madaleno said.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

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