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Could Brett Kavanaugh face criminal charges in Maryland?

The confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh hit a major snag recently when allegations of attempted rape were made public. The woman making the accusation says that over 30 years ago at a party in Chevy Chase, when both were in high school, Kavanaugh held her down, covered her mouth so that she couldn't scream and tried to remove her swimming suit.

The woman also claims that a friend of Kavanaugh's turned up the music so that others who were in the home couldn't hear what was going on. She says that she was able to escape the bedroom where the incident occurred and take refuge in the bathroom. She claims that both of the teenage boys were highly intoxicated.

Whether the Senate Judiciary Committee members overseeing the confirmation hearings believe her account and/or let this derail the nomination are still open questions. So far, despite her request that the FBI investigate her allegations, that hasn't been done. She has presented the results of a polygraph test she took and notes from her therapist, to whom she recounted the story years ago.

However, some legal experts and others have pointed out that Maryland has no statute of limitations on many criminal offenses, including some sex crimes. They're asking Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to investigate the allegations. They note that Kavanaugh and his friend (both of whom were students at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda) could still face criminal charges.

Kavanaugh has denied the accusation, and his friend has said he has "no memory of this alleged incident," but that he never saw Kavanaugh engage in the behavior described by his accuser, who's now a psychology professor.

One Baltimore attorney notes that whether the men are subject to arrest depends on specifically what charges, if any, prosecutors determined are appropriate. Some have no statutes of limitations, while others do, and they expired long ago. The alleged incident occurred in 1982.

In the #MeToo era, we've seen a number of allegations of sexual assault from many years ago, against powerful, famous men. Often, they can't be charged with a crime because statutes of limitations have expired. However, every state's laws are different. It's possible to be held criminally responsible in Maryland for alleged actions many years -- even decades -- in the past. If you're facing such accusations, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance.

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