The Slatest

Kavanaugh’s High School Yearbook Page Appears to Make Sexual Reference to Female Friend

Brett Kavanaugh testifying.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 6.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was trying to rehabilitate his image in a Fox News interview Monday, the New York Times published an excerpt from Kavanaugh’s senior yearbook page that contradicts the studious, churchgoing image Kavanaugh was pushing of himself as a teenager. On Kavanaugh’s senior page, there were references to drinking and partying, as well as “Renate Alumnius,” which the Times reports is a reference to Renate Schroeder, a student at an area Catholic girls’ school at the time. The “Alumnius” appears to be a misspelling of either “alumnus” or “alumni,” which appear on a number of his classmates pages.

“The word ‘Renate’ appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the ‘Renate Alumni,’” the Times reports. “Two of Judge Kavanaugh’s classmates say the mentions of Renate were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.” The former students the Times spoke to offered differing versions of what “Renate Alumni” meant exactly, with the more charitable reading asserting it was a reference to those that dated Schroeder.

Earlier this month, Renate Schroeder Dolphin was one of the 65 women who signed a letter in support of Kavanaugh in response to the sexual assault allegation from Christine Blasey Ford that dates back to their high school years. We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983,” the letter begins. “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Dolphin said in a statement to Times about the yearbook. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.” In a statement, a lawyer for Kavanaugh tried to soften the implication and the nature of their relationship. “Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event,” the statement reads. “They had no other such encounter. The language from Judge Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook refers to the fact that he and Ms. Dolphin attended that one high school event together and nothing else.” Dolphin, however, refuted that claim. “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she said through her lawyer.

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Why Jane Mayer Has Been Overshadowed by Ronan Farrow in Their Joint #MeToo Stories