A woman has claimed that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “held her down” and “attempted to force himself on her” at a party while they were both students in high school back in the early 1980s.
Details of the allegation were published in a new report from Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in The New Yorker on Friday. Kavanaugh’s alleged victim, who asked not to be identified, reportedly approached two Democratic lawmakers about it in July — after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. Senate Democrats have since turned over her claims, written in a letter, to the F.B.I. for investigation, according to the outlet. The letter was seen by The New Yorker.
Kavanaugh has “categorically and unequivocally” denied the woman’s allegations to the magazine, telling them, “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
According to The New Yorker, the unnamed woman alleged in the letter that Kavanaugh had been drinking at the time of the incident. To drown out the sound of her protests, she claimed that he turned up music in the room they were in.
A classmate of Kavanaugh’s was allegedly in the room at the time, the woman claimed. The classmate told The New Yorker, “I have no recollection of that.”
Both Kavanaugh and his classmate were students at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland. The woman attended a nearby high school, according to The New Yorker. All were minors at the time.
She said in the letter that she eventually was able to escape, but “the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her,” Farrow and Mayer wrote in The New Yorker. “She had sought psychological treatment as a result.”
The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
News of the woman’s sexual misconduct allegations first surfaced in a report from the New York Times on Thursday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee — which is responsible for upholding or rejecting Kavanaugh’s nomination — sent the letter on Thursday to federal investigators, the newspaper reported. She informed her fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee about its contents the previous day.
She had received the letter from Anna Eshoo, a U.S. Representative and fellow Californian Democrat, as the letter was initially sent to Eshoo’s office, the Times reported.
None of Feinstein’s colleagues had actually seen the letter, according to Politico.
While the California senator went on to confirm that she had “referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,” she declined to comment on the contents of the letter.
“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” she wrote in a statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision.”
The White House went on to claim that the letter was merely an “11th hour attempt to delay” Kavanaugh’s nomination, according to a statement provided to PEOPLE on Thursday.
“Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including with Senator Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Senator Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Kupec went on to accuse Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of playing games to hold up Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court.
“Senator Schumer promised to ‘oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,’ and it appears he is delivering with this 11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation,” Kupec added in the statement.
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News of this woman’s letter came just one day after the committee agreed to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on September 20. On the same day, a motion backed by Democrats to release documents related to Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush administration was blocked, according to CNN.
If approved by the Senate, Kavanaugh, 53, who currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, would take the seat of Justice Anthony Kennedy following his retirement from the bench.
Opponents of Trump’s choice for a lifetime appointment to the high court see Kavanaugh as a threat to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion across the U.S. Though Kavanaugh declined in hearings last week to say if he would reverse Roe v. Wade, Trump vowed during his presidential campaign to only nominate “pro-life justices” who would vote to overturn the ruling if it made its way to the Supreme Court again.
If you or someone you care about is affected by sexual violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).