When she was 15 years old, Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, now President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, she has told the Washington Post. He pinned her on a bed and covered her mouth when she tried to scream.

Ford has followed the lead of Senate Democrats and wants the FBI to launch an investigation into her alleged assault prior to her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about her experience. But unless the president requests the investigation, the federal law enforcement agency will not do so. Trump has yet to agree to make such a request, and both Ford and Senate Democrats lack the legal ability to kickstart an investigation into Kavanaugh.

But the FBI is not the only law enforcement agency that could launch an investigation.

In Maryland, there is no statute of limitations for rape or attempted rape and the alleged incident took place in suburban Montgomery County, outside Washington, D.C.



Raquel Coombs, director of communications for the state’s attorney general, Democrat Brian Frosh, told The Intercept that Frosh’s office was not looking into Ford’s case. “In Maryland, those types of cases are handled by the local state’s attorney,” she said. “I’m not quite clear what the crime would be, but just generally rape and sexual assault are handled by the state’s attorney, it’s not really our jurisdiction.”

Ramon Korionoff, public affairs officer for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, told The Intercept that “at this point, we’re refraining from commenting. We don’t want to confirm or deny if there’s an investigation.” He added that “we’re just awaiting an investigation if the police have something. When there’s something the police have brought to us, we’ll address it at that time.”

 

Officer Rick Goodale, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County Police Department, told The Intercept that since “nobody has come forward to report any allegation or incident,” they can’t start an investigation. “We can’t have an investigation without a victim,” he added.

Goodale said the national reports and discussion around Ford’s case are not sufficient grounds for his department to launch an investigation.

An attorney representing Ford did not return a request for comment on whether she planned to file a police report.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said her group and others will be pushing for both federal and local law enforcement investigations. “There’s a whole best practices for this, and it’s not unusual to have a case where the survivor reports the case at a later date,” she said. “If you do the investigation right, there are often witnesses who will come forward.”

Top photo: Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh leaves his home in Chevy Chase, Md., on Sept. 19, 2018.