A day after the FBI concluded its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90, Kavanaugh’s classmates — none of whom have been questioned by the FBI — described a culture of casual disrespect towards women among Kavanaugh’s inner circle of friends.
Kavanaugh currently faces three allegations of sexual misconduct. One of his accusers, Deborah Ramirez ’87, alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party during their freshman year in a first-floor suite in Lawrance Hall. But while Kavanaugh and his defenders have denied the allegations and praised his character, Mark Krasberg ’87 and Steven Kantrowitz ’87 — neighbors of Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh’s close friends during their freshman year — remember an incident where some of the judge’s crowd engaged in demeaning behavior toward women.
Krasberg and Kantrowitz, who lived in Lawrance Hall, said they recalled seeing at least three of Kavanaugh’s close friends — but not the judge himself — listen to an audio tape one of them had obtained of a threesome with a female student. According to the two alumni, the woman in the tape was not aware that she was being recorded. Krasberg said the students were “huddled and laughing around an audio tape” in his suite, L11-C. On a separate occasion, Kantrowitz said he witnessed students laughing about the tape in L11-B, a suite in the entryway where Kavanaugh allegedly exposed himself to Ramirez.
“There was a lot of aggressive talk and certainly a lot of braggadocio,” Chad Ludington ’87 said of his and Kavanaugh’s circle of friends.
Ludington, who released a statement Sunday refuting Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking in college, has not been contacted by the FBI.
“[The social group] casually disrespected women and sometimes not so casually disrespected women,” Ludington told the News.
Krasberg and Kantrowitz said Kavanaugh was not present at either scene in which Kavanaugh’s friends were listening to the tape. Prior to the News’ interview with Kantrowitz and Krasberg, Chris Dudley ’87, who could not be reached for comment about the audio tape, said that two of the students associated with the incident were close friends of Kavanaugh’s. Both Kantrowitz and Krasberg declined to name the students who were laughing at the audio tape on the record.
“I remember they were passing [the tape] around,” Kantrowitz said. “I have no knowledge of who made [the tape], but the tape recorder was hidden under the bed and people were laughing about it.”
To Kantrowitz’s knowledge, no one who lived in Lawrance Hall from 1983 to 1984 was contacted by the FBI. It remains unclear whether the FBI interviewed any other Yale alumni besides Ramirez and one person with knowledge of her alleged assault.
“This was not an investigation,” Kantrowitz told the News.
Krasberg and Kantrowitz are not the only alumni close to Kavanaugh who have not been contacted by the FBI. In an interview with CNN, James Roche ’87, Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate, said the FBI never reached out to him.
The FBI has interviewed Ramirez, five witnesses with knowledge related to Ford’s allegation and three other unknown witnesses, according to The New York Times.
Ludington, a varsity basketball player who said he often drank and partied with Kavanaugh when they were first years, told the News he was also never contacted by the FBI.
Noting that he himself was “no angel either,” Ludington said his and Kavanaugh’s group of male friends often made “claims of sexual conquest” and sometimes objectified women as “things you would like to have sex with instead of as [people].”
Krasberg said he contacted his senator immediately after the FBI investigation was announced last Friday with information that he claimed “backs up part of Ramirez’s story.” He added that he contacted the FBI’s field office in Colorado and told representatives that he could help identify the location of the alleged incident and pass along names of witnesses who could corroborate Ramirez’s account.
Krasberg was told by the office of Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., that the Senate Judiciary Committee had passed his name along to the FBI. Still, Krasberg said he was never contacted by the FBI for an interview and feels “frustrated” that the investigation concluded without testimony from Yale alumni connected to Ramirez’s allegation.
Kerry Berchem ’88 told the News that she contacted the FBI four times between Sept. 30 and Oct. 4 with text messages between Kavanaugh and former classmates, in which he asked friends to defend him publicly. In an interview with NBC News, Berchem said she believes that the messages demonstrate that Kavanaugh anticipated Ramirez’s allegation as early as July.
In addition to submitting the tip to the FBI through its online portal, Berchem told the News she called and emailed the bureau several times. She said has not received a “substantive response of any kind.”
Christina Baker Kline ’86, who did not know Kavanaugh or Ramirez at Yale, drafted an open letter in support of Ramirez and the other accusers, which has garnered over 3,000 signatures from female alumnae and students. Kline said it was “outrageous” that many people who could attest to Kavanaugh’s “heavy drinking [and] his treatment of women” in college were not interviewed by the FBI.
“There are a lot of people who have different aspects of this story that should be contacted and should be heard,” Kline said. “It’s clear to me that the investigation had a single minded purpose — to clear Kavanaugh.”
At Yale College, Kavanaugh played JV basketball and intramural football and basketball, and was a member of the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon and the all-male senior society Truth and Courage.
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