A Catholic University dean resigned Wednesday from a leadership position two months after voicing criticism of sexual misconduct allegations raised by women against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Will Rainford, who held the position of dean of social service at the university for five years, will continue to be a tenured associate professor and will return to the school after taking a sabbatical in the spring, according to the university.
“After much prayer and discernment, I am submitting my resignation to you as Dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, effective immediately,” Rainford said. “I do so with all goodwill for the University and School. Given the needs of the faculty and direction of the School, I believe a different academic leader is warranted.”
He was initially suspended in September by the school after he questioned some of the claims made against Kavanaugh, prompting outrage on social media.
“[Julie] Swetnick is 55 y/o. Kavanaugh is 52 y/o. Since when do senior girls hang with freshmen boys?” Rainford wrote in a now-deleted tweet, the Washington Post reported.
“If it happened when Kavanaugh was a senior, Swetnick was an adult drinking with & by her admission, having sex with underage boys. In another universe, he would be victim & she the perp!” the then-dean added.
“If it happened when Kavanaugh was a senior, Swetnick was an adult drinking with & by her admission, having sex with underage boys. In another universe, he would be victim & she the perp!”
Swetnick claimed Kavanaugh, in the early 1980s, helped spike the drinks at parties in order to make it easier for girls to be gang-raped. Kavanaugh called the allegations “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” and Swetnick and her embattled attorney, Michael Avenatti, were referred in October for criminal investigation for an alleged “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who made the referral, cited contradictory statements by both Avenatti and Swetnick in media interviews and pointed to an Oct. 1 NBC interview in which Swetnick backtracked on her central claim she saw Kavanaugh spiking the punch.
In another tweet, Rainford asked why California professor Christine Blasey Ford took a polygraph test before making her accusation.
“Riddle me this,” he wrote in a tweet, according to the Post. “Why would the accuser of Kavanaugh take a polygraph, paid for by someone else and administered by private investigator in early August, if she wanted to remain anonymous and had no intention of reporting the alleged assault?”
Catholic University President John Garvey called Rainford’s tweets “unacceptable” at the time and announced his suspension.
“We should expect any opinion he expresses about sexual assault to be thoughtful, constructive, and reflective of the values of Catholic University, particularly in communications from the account handle @NCSSSDean,” Garvey said. “While it was appropriate for him to apologize and to delete his Twitter and Facebook accounts, this does not excuse the serious lack of judgment and insensitivity of his comments.”