Group accuses Hatch of victim shaming for posting Utahn’s letter about Kavanaugh accuser

The article originally appeared in the Deseret News. Read it in its entirety here.

SALT LAKE CITY — A left-leaning advocacy group is accusing Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, of victim shaming for posting a Utah man’s rambling letter about his relationship with one of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers on Twitter.

Dennis Ketterer, a former Washington, D.C., television weatherman and Democratic congressional candidate who now lives in Utah, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee describing his association 25 years ago with Julie Swetnick. The committee released the letter on its website Tuesday.

Swetnick has accused Kavanaugh of being a “very aggressive, very sloppy drunk” in high school and that he was inappropriate with girls at parties.

Ketterer wrote in his letter that he met Swetnick in 1993 in a bar, and thought she was a “high-end call girl” because he weighed 350 pounds and “had never been hit on in a bar before.” He said they never had sex during their brief relationship, but Swetnick told him she “liked to have sex with more than one guy at a time.”

Because AIDS was a big issue at the time, Ketterer said he decided not to see her anymore after she “directly stated a penchant for group sex.”

Ketterer wrote that Swetnick never said anything about being “sexually assaulted, raped, gang raped or having sex against her will.”

“She never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity,” he wrote.

Ketterer ends his letter saying that based on his experience with Swetnick, “I do not believe her allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh.”

Hatch’s office posted on Twitter a link to the letter on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.

“A Utah man named Dennis Ketterer reached out to the Hatch office this week with information about accuser Julie Swetnick, and her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh,” the tweet said, noting Ketterer provided the statement “under penalty of felony.”

The Alliance for a Better Utah blasted Hatch for the Twitter post.

“Considering Swetnick has not even been granted an interview with the FBI, it is befuddling why Hatch has chosen to publicly smear her character in this way,” Katie Matheson, Better Utah communications director, said in a statement. “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 Ketterer’s statements about Swetnick are accurate, they don’t diminish the severity or credibility of Swetnick’s allegations, she said.

“We would hope Hatch would be more concerned with getting at the truth than with discrediting women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct,” Matheson said.

Swetnick’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, called Ketterer’s letter “garbage” in a post on Twitter Tuesday.

“The letter from Dennis Ketterer is garbage — the GOP is desperate. The allegations he makes are false and without any basis. We demand that the FBI interview my client and him, and that anyone found to have submitted false info be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Avenatti wrote.

Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock declined to respond to the accusation of victim shaming.

But he said in a statement that to ensure transparency in the confirmation process, the committee has published sworn interviews, statements and testimony online for the public to see.

“The decision to make this letter public was made by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and because the sworn statement noted that Mr. Ketterer first reached out to the committee through Sen. Hatch, we felt it important to disclose,” Whitlock said.

The article originally appeared in the Deseret News. Read it in its entirety here.

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