Law enforcement officials in Maryland have issued a statement saying they are prepared to conduct a state-level criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. However, they said, a victim must come forward and request such an investigation.
The statement, by Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, was made on Friday. A short time earlier President Trump ordered the FBI to conduct a limited “supplemental” investigation into Kavanaugh’s background.
Meanwhile, CNN has reported that Maryland legislators requested that a criminal investigation get started.
“11 state lawmakers in Maryland have asked Montgomery County law enforcement officials to investigate the 36-year-old sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh”
11 state lawmakers in Maryland have asked Montgomery County law enforcement officials to investigate the 36-year-old sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh https://t.co/hRSiDucs7Z pic.twitter.com/mJBOEPJ0qP
— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2018
Manger and McCarthy said that criminal prosecution was unlikely in Maryland because authorities would have to apply the law that existed at the time of the offense, not the law that exists now, Baltimore’s FOX 45 News reported.
“For example, in 1982, assault and attempted rape were both misdemeanors and subject to a one-year statute of limitations,” they wrote. But they added: “The Montgomery County Police Department and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office stand ready to investigate any sexual assault allegation from any victim where the incident occurred in our jurisdiction.”
Their comments were dealing only with allegations made by Dr. Christine Ford, and not gang rape allegations made in a sworn declaration by Julie Swetnick. Crimes against Ford might be misdemeanors, but those against Swetnick would be felonies, not subject to a one-year statute of limitations.
According to the Baltimore Sun the Montgomery County officials said a victim would have to file a complaint to trigger an inquiry.
“To date, there have been no criminal reports filed with the Montgomery County Department of Police that would lead to the initiation of any criminal investigation related to Judge Kavanaugh,” they wrote in their statement.
The group of Maryland lawmakers, all Democrats, called for the state to conduct its own criminal investigation into decades-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
In their letter the Democrats said they were writing to “express our concern about the need for an investigation into recent high-profile allegations of sex assault in our county. … We believe local law enforcement has the authority to investigate allegations of crimes without need for a formal complaint, and we further believe third parties have standing to bring such complaints.”
As the Kavanaugh case proceeds, and as the FBI investigation concludes, there will be opportunities for aggrieved victimes to file criminal charges in Maryland. The law enforcement officials have prematurely concluded that no charges can be brought against Kavanaugh due to the statute of limitations.
In Maryland, if the sexual assault claims constitute a felony, there is NO statute of limitations. This means Brett Kavanaugh could still be facing a criminal trial in the future, especially if Julie Swetnick’s gang rape accusations are found credible.
The initial steps have been taken, and once the wheels of justice begin moving it is hard to stop them. They probably won’t stop in this case until all the truth comes out and Brett Kavanaugh is held accountable for his many crimes.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.