With new revelations about the lamentable high school behavior of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh emerging in a seemingly continuous stream, the details of the events from 35 years ago are causing some collateral damage for people who interacted with the Georgetown Prep student at the time, according to an article in The New York Times today.
In particular, it is a cryptic entry in Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook that, now decoded, has caused the subject to declare the reference as an “insinuation [that] is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”
Amidst the typical yearbook references to sports, beach parties, and underage drinking is an entry that means little to those outside the school’s social circles: “Renate Alumnius.”
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According to the newspaper:
“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.’ It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school.”
Classmates from Georgetown Prep have interpreted the phrase as “part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.”
The New York Times quotes Sean Hagan, a student at the school at the time, as saying of Kavanaugh and his teammates:
“They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate,” he said. “I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”
The disparaging allusion to Ms. Schroeder is just one of many insights into the culture of Georgetown Prep at the time that Kavanaugh’s yearbook page reveals, including his declaration of “100 kegs or bust.”
Ms. Schroeder, who now goes by her married name Renate Schroeder Dolphin, was among the 65 women who sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee ten days ago vouching for the nominee’s character. The letter that the women signed said that Kavanaugh “has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”
However, when Ms. Dolphin signed onto the statement she was unaware of the multiple references to her teenaged self in the yearbook.
“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin told The New York Times. “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.”
Kavanaugh’s lawyer, Alexandra Walsh, issued the following statement on his behalf:
“Judge Kavanaugh was friends with Renate Dolphin in high school. He admired her very much then, and he admires her to this day.
“Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event,” the statement continued. “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.”
Demonstrating the divergences in memories of the same events by separate people, Ms. Dolphin recalls the event’s very differently, telling the newspaper that her lips never touched the now beleaguered nominee’s.
“I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she said in a statement forwarded by her lawyer.
Naturally, having their youthful braggadocio thrust into the spotlight all these years later, Kavanaugh’s teammates on the football squad are denying any boastful or lascivious intent in their references to being “Renate Alumni,” claiming it simply refers to them having dated or escorting the then Ms. Schroeder to dances.
Unless Ms. Dolphin decides to comment further after all, one can only speculate whether their youthful insinuations have anything else at their root, but the disrespect inherent in Kavanaugh’s comments about her will haunt him as his confirmation continues to flounder.
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