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Could Kavanaugh be prosecuted in Maryland? Law enforcement sources say 'unlikely'

Brett Kavanaugh looks at his wife Ashley Estes Kavanaugh at the start of a FOX News interview with Martha MacCallum, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Washington, about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (ABC7) — Prosecuting Brett Kavanaugh on allegations he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in 1982 would be tricky, if not impossible, according to multiple law enforcement sources and criminal defense attorneys.

The primary challenges include age of the accused, statute of limitations and jurisdictional uncertainty.

Age of the accused:

Blasey Ford has publicly stated Kavanaugh and Mark Judge sexually assaulted her during the summer of 1982. Kavanaugh was 17 at the time, a minor. Unlike today, during the 80s, Maryland only waived juvenile defendants into adult court for the most heinous of crimes like murder and rape. Law enforcement sources not approved to speak publicly on the matter say had Blasey Ford come forward with the same allegations in 1982, Kavanaugh would have been charged as a juvenile.

Statute of limitations:

Based on Blasey Ford's account, prosecutors could have theoretically charged Kavanaugh with a crime like attempted rape or unwanted sexual touching over clothing. However, in 1982, those crimes had a one-year statute of limitations. In other words, Blasey Ford would have had to report the allegations to law enforcement by 1983. She did not.

It is worth noting, Maryland has done away with statute of limitations on most sexual offense charges, including rape, attempted rape and sex abuse of a minor, however, Kavanaugh is grandfathered in, so to speak.

Jurisdictional uncertainty:

Blasey Ford recalls being sexually assaulted within a home near the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. However, she cannot remember the address, street name or neighborhood where the property was located. That creates a jurisdictional predicament for investigators. And while that might sound like a technicality, a criminal case could easily fall apart without a precise scene, particularly when it is close to a border such as the Maryland-D.C. line.

"There are a number of barriers here that would make prosecution in this matter hard to come by," said one Maryland defense attorney with more than 15 years in law. "I don't see charges ever being filed, that is unless Ms. Blasey Ford's memory becomes clearer, and that could open a whole new can of worms."

Another complicating factor, Kavanaugh's mother, Martha, who worked for the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office from 1978 until 1984. That former employment could create a conflict of interest for prosecutors should criminal charges ever be filed.


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