Senator Hatch accused of ‘slut-shaming’ after sharing Utah man’s letter about Kavanaugh accuser

Politics
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SALT LAKE CITY(News4Utah) – Senator Orrin Hatch is receiving backlash after claims he floated on social media regarding individuals involved in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination process.

A Utah man recently announced he knows one of Kavanaugh’s accusers and he does not believe her allegations against him.

This man, Dennis Ketterer, wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week explaining his previous relationship with Julie Swetnick.

Swetnick is the third woman to accuse President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct during his high school years.

In a declaration provided to the committee and released by her attorney Michael Avenatti, Swetnick claims she saw Kavanaugh at more than ten house parties in the early 1980s. She said at numerous parties Kavanaugh was drunk and engaging in what she called “highly inappropriate conduct,” including “fondling and grabbing of girls without their consent.”

Swetnick also alleges that she “became aware of efforts” by Kavanaugh and another classmate to spike drinks at parties with drugs or grain alcohol in order to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say, “No.”

Kavanaugh vehemently denied the claims. In a statement, he called the allegations by Swetnick “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”

Tuesday, Senator Hatch’s Office tweeted excerpts from Ketterer’s statement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The same text and the full letter was also posted on the committee’s website.

Ketterer said he had a relationship with Swetnick in the 1990s. Ketterer’s statement appears to make assertions about Swetnick based on her alleged sexual preferences and interactions he had with her previously.  

Hatch received criticism on Twitter for sharing the uncorroborated statement about Swetnick that includes claims that many say has no relevance to her allegations. Twitter users called it “slut-shaming” and “disgraceful.”

Alliance for a Better Utah released the following statement:

“For all his hand-wringing over political tribalism, Senator Hatch has repeatedly chosen to put his own partisan agenda above the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Considering Swetnick has not even been granted an interview with the FBI, it is befuddling why Hatch has chose to publicly smear her character in this way. Sharing salacious details about Swetnick’s personal life on Twitter is a blatant “slut-shaming” attempt to discredit her character in the court of public opinion. Even if all of Ketterer’s statements about Swetnick are accurate, they in no way diminish the severity of credibility of Swetnick’s allegations.”

The organization went on to say,

“spreading a message that Kavanaugh’s accusers are lying while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of claims against Kavanaugh—signals to survivors of sexual assault that their experiences are immaterial in deciding who holds power in this country. We would hope Hatch would be more concerned with getting at the truth than discrediting women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.”

Following Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing last week where testimonies were given by Kavanaugh and his primary accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Hatch told News4Utah he didn’t believe the sexual assault in question ever happened.

“Yeah, that’s right it never happened. I certainly think Judge Kavanaugh made his case that he never was involved in that,” said Hatch.

Hatch has been very vocal about his disapproval with the Kavanaugh nomination process calling it a “national disgrace.”

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...