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Christine Blasey Ford

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Christine Blasey Ford
Christine Blasey Ford, 27 September 2018 (b).jpg
Ford testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee, September 27, 2018
Born Christine Margaret Blasey
November 1966 (age 51)[1]
Other names Christine Blasey[2]
Occupation Professor of Psychology
Spouse(s)
Russell Ford (m. 2002)
Children 2
Relatives Bridgit Mendler (niece)
Academic background
Education
Thesis Measuring Young Children's Coping Responses to Interpersonal Conflict (1995)
Doctoral advisor Michael D. Newcomb[5]
Academic work
Discipline Psychology
Institutions

Christine Margaret Blasey Ford (/ˈblɑːzi/;[6] born November 1966)[1] is an American professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.[7] She specializes in designing statistical models for research projects.[8] During her academic career, Ford has worked as a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine Collaborative Clinical Psychology Program.[9]

In September 2018, Ford publicly alleged that then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in Bethesda, Maryland, when they were teenagers in the summer of 1982.[10] She testified about her allegations during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination later that month.[3]

Early life and education

Ford grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.[3] Her parents are Paula K. and Ralph G. Blasey Jr., registered Republicans who were 80 and 83 years old, respectively, at the time of the Supreme Court nomination hearing in September 2018. Her brothers are Tom and Ralph III.[11]

From 1978 through 1984,[3] she attended the Holton-Arms School, a private, all-girls university-preparatory school in Bethesda, Maryland.[4] While on her regional sports team for diving, she accompanied diver Greg Louganis on a trip to the White House to discuss the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott.[12]

She earned an undergraduate degree in experimental psychology in 1988[4] from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[3] She received a master's degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University in 1991.[4] In 1996, she received a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Southern California.[4] Her 1995 dissertation was entitled Measuring Young Children's Coping Responses to Interpersonal Conflict.[13] In 2009, she earned a master's degree in epidemiology, with a focus on the subject of biostatistics,[14] from Stanford University School of Medicine.[4]

Career

Ford began teaching at Stanford University in 1988.[15] As of September 2018, she teaches research design and education clinical psychology at Palo Alto University.[7] Additionally, she participates in educational programs with the Stanford University School of Medicine as a member of a consortium group with Palo Alto University.[7][15][16]

Through this consortium group, called the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP), Ford teaches subjects including psychometrics, study methodologies, and statistics.[12][16] She has also performed consulting work for multiple pharmaceutical companies.[17] Ford worked as the director of biostatistics at Corcept Therapeutics, and collaborated with FDA statisticians.[13] Ford is widely published within her field.[10][16][18]

Ford "specializes in designing statistical models for research projects in order to make sure they come to accurate conclusions," as summarized by Helena Chmura Kraemer, a Stanford professor emeritus in biostatistics who co-authored a book and several articles with Ford.[8] Ford has written or co-written several books about psychological topics, including depression.[19] Her other research topics published in academic journal articles have included child abuse and the September 11 attacks.[15][19] In 2015, she co-authored a book entitled How Many Subjects? Statistical Power Analysis in Research.[19][20] Ford's research into the social impact of hiding one's sexual orientation was published in 2016 in the journal Behavior Therapy, and reviewed by psychologist William Gibson of the American Psychological Association, who found their research "demonstrates that issues of identity have relevance to mental health outcomes in ways that much of previous work misses."[21]

Sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh

Ford being sworn in
PDF document of Ford's written testimony
Ford's written testimony

In early July 2018, after Judge Brett Kavanaugh was reported to be on Donald Trump's shortlist to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ford contacted both The Washington Post and her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo.[10] On July 20,[3] eleven days after Trump nominated Kavanaugh, Eshoo met with Ford, becoming convinced of her credibility and noting that Ford seemed "terrified" that her identity as an accuser might become public. Eshoo and Ford decided to take the matter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of Ford's senators in California and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would deliberate Kavanaugh's nomination.[22] In a letter to Feinstein, Ford alleged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when both were in high schools in Bethesda, MD, and stated that she expected her story to be kept confidential.[10][23] In August, Ford took a polygraph test with a former FBI agent, who concluded Ford was being truthful when attesting to the accuracy of her allegations.[10]

Owing to her confidentiality commitment to Ford,[24] Feinstein did not raise the issue in the initial Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings.[25] On September 12, The Intercept reported (without naming Ford) that Feinstein was withholding a Kavanaugh-related document from fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats.[26] On September 13,[27] Feinstein referred Ford's letter to the FBI, which redacted Ford's name and forwarded the letter to the White House[10] as an update to Kavanaugh's background check.[28] The White House in turn sent the letter to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.[10]

Senator Dick Durbin asks Ford about her certainty of Brett Kavanaugh's identity in the alleged 1982 attack.

On September 16, after media reported anonymous allegations and reporters started to track down her identity, Ford went public.[29] Ford had wrestled with the choice to make her identity known, weighing the potential negative impact it could have on her,[30][31] but ultimately spoke to The Washington Post, alleging that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982 when she was 15 and he was 17.[32][33][34] She said that, while his friend Mark Judge watched, Kavanaugh, intoxicated, held her down on a bed with his body, grinding against and groping her, covering her mouth when she tried to scream and trying to pull her clothes off.[35][36] Finding it hard to breathe, she thought Kavanaugh was accidentally (her emphasis) going to kill her.[4] She recounted escaping when Judge jumped on the bed and toppled them.[10] As corroboration of her account, Ford provided the Post with the polygraph results as well as session notes from her couples therapist written in 2012.[10]

The therapist's notes do not name Kavanaugh but record Ford's claim of being attacked by students "from an elitist boys' school" who went on to become "highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington". The therapist's notes also say four boys were involved, which Ford attributed to an error by the therapist; Ford said in 2018 that four boys were at the party but only two were involved in the incident.[10] Ford's husband recalled that she had used Kavanaugh's last name in her 2012 description of the incident.[10] In an individual therapy session in 2013, Ford described a "rape attempt" that occurred in her late teens.[10] Kavanaugh denied Ford's allegations.[37] Attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Blanks and Michael Bromwich represented Ford pro bono[3] in the process of going public with her statements about Kavanaugh.[29][12][38] Democratic adviser Ricki Seidman, who helped prepare Anita Hill for her testimony against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings, was brought in to personally advise Ford in navigating a potential hearing.[39]

On September 18, Ford's attorneys sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley requesting that the FBI investigate the incident before the Senate holds a hearing on Ford's allegations to "ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions." The letter additionally noted the significant public support Ford had received, but also severe harassment including death threats, forcing her to leave her home.[40] The same day, a crowdfunding campaign was created to defray Ford's security costs, surpassing its $100,000 goal in less than 24 hours.[41]

On September 21, President Trump tweeted about Ford, saying that if Ford's allegations were true, either she or her parents would have reported them at the time of the event.[42] Fortune called the tweet an attempt "to undermine her allegation"[43] and Republican Senator Susan Collins—considered a key swing vote on Kavanaugh's nomination—said she is "appalled" by Trump's tweet, calling it "inappropriate and wrong".[44] Trump issued several more statements, including a tweet alleging that Kavanaugh was "under assault by radical left wing politicians".[45]

On September 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an additional day of public hearings to discuss her allegations. Ford and Kavanaugh were the only witnesses scheduled.[46] Ford testified that Kavanaugh "groped me and tried to take off my clothes," and that "I believed he was going to rape me."[47] Kavanaugh had previously denied all allegations of sexual assault as "totally false and outrageous" and testified separately later in the day.[48] Republican members of the committee did not question Ford directly; that was done by Rachel Mitchell, a career prosecutor from Arizona retained by the committee's Republican majority to question Ford on their behalf.[49] Alternating with Mitchell's questions, Democratic committee members questioned Ford themselves.[50]

After the hearing Mitchell produced a report stating "there is no clear standard of proof during the Senate confirmation process" and said she did "not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee" and that she did not "believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderence-of-evidence standard." Mitchell said there were multiple inconsistencies in Ford's testimony.[51] Ford listed several persons who were present during the party including "Mark Judge, Patrick "PJ" Smyth, and her lifelong friend Leland Keyser". The three named individuals have submitted statements to the Committee "denying any memory of the party whatsoever". Mitchell said that Ford's case was "even weaker than" the standard "he said, she said" case, because other witnesses identified by Ford "either refuted her allegations, or failed to corroborate them".[51][52]

On September 28, after a request from U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, followed by a request from the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Trump ordered an FBI supplemental background investigation concerning the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.[53] On October 3, NBC News reported that Ford, Kavanaugh, and dozens of other witnesses were not interviewed by the FBI due to restrictions imposed by the White House.[54] On October 5, Ford's attorneys said she had no regrets about coming forward, and does not want Kavanaugh impeached if Democrats take control of Congress.[55]

Personal life

Ford lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband Russell Ford, whom she married in 2002, and their two sons.[7][16][8] She is the aunt of actress and singer Bridgit Mendler.[42]

Ford is a registered Democrat who has made small contributions to political organizations.[10] In 2017, she participated in a local Women's March protesting President Trump[12] and attended a March for Science in San Francisco to protest the Trump administration's cuts to research.[16] Following Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement from the Supreme Court in June 2018, Ford considered relocating her family to another democracy, such as New Zealand, in the event Brett Kavanaugh became a Supreme Court Justice.[56]

Recognition

The Wing, a co-working network and club for women, named the conference room in its San Francisco headquarters after Ford.[57]

Selected works

Books
  • Kraemer, Helen Chmura; Blasey, Christine M. (2015). How Many Subjects?: Statistical Power Analysis in Research. Sage Publishing. ISBN 978-1483319544.
Book chapters
Journal articles

References

  1. ^ a b Berzon, Alexandra; Gurman, Sadie; Elinson, Zusha (September 19, 2018). "Portrait of Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford: Thorough, Guarded, Accomplished Academic". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Murphy, Brian (September 17, 2018). "Kavanaugh accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, graduated from UNC in 1988". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Hearing, Professor Blasey Ford Testimony". c-span.org. C-SPAN. September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Read Christine Blasey Ford's Prepared Statement". The New York Times. September 26, 2018. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Blasey, Christine Margaret (August 1995). "Measuring young children's coping responses to interpersonal conflict". digitallibrary.usc.edu. University of Southern California Dissertations and Theses. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  6. ^ "Professor Christine Blasey Ford Opening Statement -- Full Video -- (C-SPAN)". YouTube. C-SPAN. September 27, 2018. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Weise, Elizabeth (September 17, 2018). "Who is Christine Blasey Ford, the professor accusing Brett Kavanaugh of assault?". USA Today. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Tolan, Casey (September 16, 2018). "Kavanaugh accuser lauded as 'truth teller'; senator says nomination may see delay". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "Who is Christine Blasey Ford, the Palo Alto professor accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct?". Palo Alto Daily Post. September 16, 2018. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Brown, Emma (September 16, 2018). "California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 16, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018. Her work has been widely published in academic journals.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c d Sulek, Julia Prodis (September 17, 2018). "Christine Blasey Ford feared an avalanche of attacks if she went public about Kavanaugh, friends say". The Mercury News. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Palo Alto University 2015-16 Catalog" (PDF). Palo Alto University. 2016. p. 190. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
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  18. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (September 27, 2018). "What to watch for during Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford hearing". CBS News. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018. She is a widely-published professor at Palo Alto University, teaching clinical psychology to graduate students.
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  20. ^ Kraemer, Helen Chmura; Blasey, Christine M. (2015). How Many Subjects?: Statistical Power Analysis in Research. Sage Publishing. ISBN 978-1483319544.
  21. ^ Gibson, William (April 2016). "Research: Concealing sexual orientation is connected to social phobia". Division 44 Newsletter. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
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  25. ^ Haberkorn, Jennifer (September 19, 2018). "The GOP wants to know why Feinstein didn't come forward sooner with Kavanaugh allegation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  26. ^ Grim, Ryan (September 12, 2018). "Dianne Feinstein Withholding Brett Kavanaugh Document From Fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats". The Intercept. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  27. ^ "Feinstein Statement on Kavanaugh". feinstein.senate.gov. Senator Dianne Feinstein. September 13, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  28. ^ Higgins, Tucker (September 13, 2018). "Sen. Dianne Feinstein refers mysterious letter about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to federal authorities". cnbc.com. CNBC. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  29. ^ a b Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (September 16, 2018). "Kavanaugh's Nomination in Turmoil as Accuser Says He Assaulted Her Decades Ago". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  30. ^ Vernon, Pete (September 18, 2018). "Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavanaugh, and a nomination in limbo". Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  31. ^ Stelter, Brian (September 16, 2018). "Post reporter says Kavanaugh accuser was 'terrified about going public'". CNN. Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
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  37. ^ Chamberlain, Samuel (September 17, 2018). "Sen. Orrin Hatch says Kavanaugh denied being at party described by accuser Ford". foxnews.com. Fox News. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  38. ^ Papenfuss, Mary (September 23, 2018). "Former Federal Prosecutor Joins Kavanaugh Accuser's Legal Team". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  39. ^ Karni, Annie (September 20, 2018). "Kavanaugh accuser leans on Democratic operative for advice - Christine Blasey Ford is looking to Ricki Seidman, who helped prepare Anita Hill, to help her navigate a potential hearing". Politico. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018.
  40. ^ Tatum, Sophie (September 18, 2018). "Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying". cnn.com. CNN. Archived from the original on September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  41. ^ Shoot, Brittany (September 19, 2018). "A GoFundMe for Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford's Private Security Met Its Goal in Just Hours". fortune.com. Fortune. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  42. ^ a b Cole, Devan (September 20, 2018). "Ford's family issues statement of support". CNN. Contributions by Eli Watkins, Gloria Borger, and Kate Sullivan. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  43. ^ Bach, Natasha (September 21, 2018). "Trump Swipes at Kavanaugh Accuser Christine Blasey Ford on Twitter". Fortune. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  44. ^ Foran, Clare; Acosta, Jim (September 21, 2018). "Susan Collins 'appalled' by Trump's tweet about Christine Blasey Ford". cnn.com. CNN. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  45. ^ Malloy, Allie (September 22, 2018). "Trump unleashes on Kavanaugh accuser". CNN. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  46. ^ Shabad, Rebecca (September 27, 2018). "What to know about the Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford Senate hearing". NBC News. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  47. ^ Wilkie, Christina (September 27, 2018). "Kavanaugh accuser Ford describes her alleged attackers' 'laughter' in gripping testimony". CNBC. Archived from the original on September 28, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  48. ^ Joyce, Kathleen; Ng, Shelley; Darrah, Nicole; Richardson, Matt (September 27, 2018). "Kavanaugh, Ford hearing live blog: Supreme Court nominee and professor testify on sexual assault accusations". Fox News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  49. ^ "Brett Kavanaugh confirmation: Kavanaugh testifies following Ford's questioning on sex assault allegations - live updates". CBS. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  50. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (September 27, 2018). "The Formal Ping-Pong of the Questioning in the Kavanaugh-Ford Hearing". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  51. ^ a b "Read prosecutor Rachel Mitchell's memo about the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing". Axios. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  52. ^ Edmund DeMarche (2018-10-01). "Mitchell says she would not bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh in memo". Fox News. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  53. ^ Detrow, Scott; Mak, Tim; Taylor, Jessica (September 28, 2018), "Trump Orders Limited FBI Investigation To Supplement Kavanaugh Background Check", NPR, archived from the original on September 28, 2018, retrieved September 28, 2018
  54. ^ "FBI has not contacted dozens of potential sources in Kavanaugh investigation". NBC News. October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  55. ^ Tatum, Sophie (October 5, 2018). "Attorneys: Christine Blasey Ford doesn't want Kavanaugh impeached, has no regrets". CNN. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  56. ^ Contrera, Jessica; Shapira, Ian; Brown, Emma; Hendrix, Steve (September 22, 2018). "Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford moved 3,000 miles to reinvent her life. It wasn't far enough". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  57. ^ Gstalter, Morgan (October 9, 2018). "Women's co-working network gives nod to Christine Blasey Ford at new space". The Hill. Retrieved 15 October 2018.

External links