Sen. John Kennedy wants Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser to testify publicly

Local psychologist weighs in
Updated: Sep. 19, 2018 at 6:14 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the controversy builds over the sexual assault allegations lodged against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana hopes Kavanaugh’s accuser, California Professor Christine Blasey Ford, will change her mind and testify publicly on Capitol Hill early next week.

Meanwhile, a local psychologist said it is not unusual for such accusations to be made years after the fact.

"I’m not being pejorative when I say this, I think I’m just being factual, but these accusations are at the 11th hour, and we’re trying to be fair to both sides,” Sen. Kennedy said.

Kennedy sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee which will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Kennedy wants the professor accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault to testify in a way that all can see.

"If she wants to do it in private, I will agree reluctantly. I think we need to have a public hearing. I think the American people need to hear from Dr. Ford and hear from Judge Kavanaugh, and I trust the American people to draw their own conclusions,” Kennedy, R-LA., said during a videotaped conference call with national and local journalists.

Dr. Michelle Moore, an LSU Health New Orleans Associate Professor of Psychiatry and licensed clinical psychologist, said it is not unusual for such allegations to come years later.

"Not at all. It’s very often that we hear of people who were abused as children who wait until they’re adults to actually come forward and start talking about it,” said Dr. Moore.

While she does not know Kavanaugh’s accuser, Moore said shame, fear of not being believed and other factors sometimes hold victims back from disclosing what happened to them right away.

"A lot of times what complicates it too is if the person who you are accusing of sexual abuse is in a position of power or authority,” Moore said.

Kennedy said he spoke to Judge Kavanaugh this week during a personal telephone call.

"He’s resolute this did not happen. I asked him point-blank, direct, right between the eyes, ‘Did this happen?’ ‘Absolutely not,’” stated Kennedy.

Dr. Moore said there is no one-size-fits-all approach for victims.

"There is no cookie-cutter approach, there is no textbook way that you can possibly go about that, and it’s unfortunate if people will feel like that everyone should come forward or kind of people feeling judged that they’ve waited too long because it’s very personal,” she said.

And Dr. Moore said it is possible for some victims to be re-traumatized when they revisit what happened to them years ago.

"This is what we see in post-traumatic stress disorder. When you’re reliving a trauma, you’re re-experiencing that trauma and going back through it again. It’s very emotional,” stated Moore.

Kennedy is holding out hope Ford will show up for Monday’s still planned hearing on her accusations.

"We agreed to the public hearing, Dr. Ford has now changed her mind again and doesn’t want the public hearing. I think there’s a reasonable possibility that she’ll change her mind yet again, and I’m prepared to be there on Monday at 10 o’clock,” Kennedy stated.

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