As the Senate prepares to vote on whether to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, the theology teacher at the Maryland school he attended in the 1980s recalled a focused student with good morals.
"The person that I know was a young man who had integrity," Mark Rist, who was a teacher at Georgetown Prep in 1980 when Kavanaugh was a sophomore, told WFAA. "My experience of him was somebody that had the highest character. He was competing to be number one in the class."
The allegations of sexual assault by California professor Christine Blasey Ford and her subsequent testimony before Congress surprised Rist, who has taught at Nolan Catholic School in Fort Worth, Texas for the past 30 years.
“Not wanting to get into the political thing, (my) thought was simply … this cannot be true,” Rist told KTVT.
Rist told KTVT that he heard plenty of gossip when he was a lunchroom monitor and resident adviser at Georgetown Prep, adding that he knew that the students socialized with youths from other schools.
“That’s one of the reasons that I found the allegation less credible,” Rist told KTVT. “Simply because they all knew each other.
“If any of those kinds of things had happened, that would spread like wildfire.”
Rist left Georgetown Prep in June 1982, the year before Kavanaugh graduated, and concedes that if the alleged assault happened after that, he would not have heard about it.
Still, Rist believes Kavanaugh’s denials.
"I just do not believe that it was Brett Kavanaugh that was doing that," Rist told WFAA.
However, Rist said he would not dismiss Ford’s testimony.
"The thing is with Brett, it just didn't sound like him, but you and I both know when people are under the influence of alcohol, they can act in ways that just aren't consistent with who they are when they're sober," Rist told WFAA.
Rist said he was surprised to hear stories of Kavanaugh’s alleged drinking while at prep school.
“If he had been drinking heavily, it would have been very difficult for him to maintain,” Rist told KTVT. “Competing for number one in the class – because I think he had his eyes on Yale – and to be able to maintain that type of athletic performance.”
While not defending Kavanaugh, Rist said his memories of the judge as a youth did not match the accusations.
“The core of him is integrity — without trying to sound political — but the core of him was integrity,” Rist told KTVT. “And that’s the Brett Kavanaugh that I know.”
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