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Catholic University dean suspended for critical tweets of Kavanaugh accuser

Catholic University is in Northeast, Washington D.C. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — Catholic University suspended a dean after he wrote critical tweets this week of one of the women who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Will Rainford, the dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service, tweeted under the handle @NCSSSDean, but has since deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

He suggested in a post Wednesday that Julie Swetnick, one of the women who has accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate behavior, was a perpetrator and not a victim.

The Washington Post reports that the tweet said, “Swetnick is 55 y/o. Kavanaugh is 52 y/o. Since when do senior girls hang with freshmen boys? 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 tweet read.

University President John Garvey called the tweets ”unacceptable” and said they “lack of sensitivity to the victim,” in a news release. He said that he would be suspending Rainford for the remainder of the semester.

“The Catholic University of America has no position on the Kavanagh matter,” Garvey said. “But let there be no doubt that our University, and particularly our National Catholic School of Social Service, has a special concern for every victim and survivor of sexual assault.”

The tweets caused a backlash on social media from alumni and others, and prompted many to call or send letters to the school with concerns about Rainford’s actions. A protest has been organized on Monday to demand his resignation.

On Thursday, Rainford issued an apology.

“I am aware that many of you are angry, frustrated, and hurt,” Rainford’s letter said. “For this I am truly sorry.”

Rainford has led the National Catholic School of Social Service since 2013, and Garvey said it is his desire to allow Rainford to continue after the suspension.

Associate Dean Marie Raber will serve as acting dean during Rainford’s absence, Garvey said.


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