By Marc Fisher and Perry Stein | The Washington Publish
As Christine Blasey Ford tells it, just one individual can supply eyewitness affirmation of her account of a sexual assault by Supreme Courtroom nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Mark Decide, Kavanaugh’s good friend and classmate at Georgetown Prep.
Ford says Decide watched Kavanaugh assault her at a high school social gathering within the early 1980s after which actually piled on, leaping on prime of her and Kavanaugh. Decide says he doesn’t keep in mind the social gathering and by no means noticed his buddy behave like that. Ford’s authorized staff has requested the Senate Judiciary Committee to compel Decide to testify.
A assessment of books, articles and weblog posts by Decide – a contract author who has shifted amongst jobs at a report retailer, substitute educating, housesitting and most lately at a liquor retailer – describes an ’80s private-school social gathering scene through which heavy consuming and sexual encounters have been commonplace fare.
Decide wrote about the pledge he and his buddies on the all-male school on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, Maryland, made to drink 100 kegs of beer earlier than commencement. On their strategy to that objective, there was a “disastrous” celebration “at my house where the place was trashed,” Decide wrote in his e-book “God and Man at Georgetown Prep.” Kavanaugh listed himself within the class yearbook as treasurer of the “100 Kegs or Bust” membership.
“I’ll be the first one to defend guys being guys,” Decide wrote in a 2015 article on the web site Acculturated. He described a celebration tradition of “drinking and smoking and hooking up.” Throughout senior yr, Decide stated he and his buddies employed a stripper and purchased a keg for a bachelor get together they threw to honor their school’s music instructor.
“I drank too much and did stupid things,” he stated in his memoir.
“Most of the time everyone, including the girls, was drunk,” Decide wrote in “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” a memoir of his alcoholism and restoration. “If you could breathe and walk at the same time, you could hook up with someone. This did not mean going all the way . . . but after a year spent in school without girls, heavy petting was basically an orgy.”
Whereas lots of his classmates moved on to careers in regulation, politics, enterprise and schooling, Decide appeared to some buddies to remain fastened within the experiences of his adolescence. Over time, his politics shifted from left to proper, and his writing typically targeted on his view of masculinity (“the wonderful beauty of uncontrollable male passion”) and his concern that homosexual tradition was corroding conventional values.
In a single column for Acculturated, Decide wrote that it’s “important that for some brief moments in his life – preferably when he is young – a man should be, at times, arrogant, a little reckless, and looking for kicks.”
Decide – who didn’t reply to emails and telephone calls requesting remark and who has deleted his Twitter account and brought down movies from YouTube and Vimeo – is a recovering alcoholic who has traveled a rocky street since high school. He took seven years to earn his bachelor’s diploma at Catholic College – a delay he attributed to “my fondness for bars and rock and roll.”
“I was ready to destroy the world,” he wrote of life in his 20s. “I didn’t disbelieve in God – I hated him. . . . I was destroying myself.”
Maryland state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, one in every of Decide’s classmates at Georgetown Preparatory School, recalled him as “an unhappy person who was happy to make other people unhappy. ‘Bully’ may be an overused term, but he regularly belittled people he perceived as being lower on the high school hierarchy.”
Decide has remained near a few of his Prep buddies, who describe supporting Decide via a few of his troublesome passages.
Three days after President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the emptiness on the Supreme Courtroom, Decide posted on Twitter a beat-up previous snapshot of eight shirtless teen boys posing on a seashore: “Members of the mighty GP [Georgetown Prep] class of 1983,” the tweet stated. Within the middle of the photograph: Decide and Kavanaugh.
From high school onward, Decide has been, by all accounts, a insurgent – outspoken, profane, typically boorish, but in addition surpassingly loyal to his buddies.
“My dad once said, ‘You were rebelling when you came outta your mom,’ ” Decide wrote in “God and Man,” “and he was probably right. I just had an instinct and desire to get into trouble, and science and psychotherapy are useless to explain it. I just liked causing trouble.”
Decide has written about his Prep years as a time of drunken debauchery. Seashore Week, a summertime tour with classmates, was a nonstop curler coaster of consuming, sexual encounters with women from different prep faculties, blackouts and extra consuming. “It was impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated,” he wrote.
Such experiences crammed weekends in the course of the school yr as nicely, and on Monday mornings throughout senior yr, the boys would inform their Marriage and Intercourse instructor, Bernie Ward, about their excesses.
“The drinking was unbelievable,” stated Ward, who later spent 20 years as a radio talk-show host in San Francisco and served six years in federal jail for distributing youngster pornography. “It was part of the culture. A parent even bought the keg and threw one of the parties for the kids.”
Ward, who taught Decide, Kavanaugh and future Supreme Courtroom justice Neil Gorsuch in his faith and sexuality programs, stated his college students “talked plenty about men and women and taking advantage and respect for each other. They took umbrage when I compared their rooting around with girls to dogs in heat. They’d say they were in love, and I’d say, ‘Wait a minute – then how come you have another girlfriend in two weeks?’ We’d have heated arguments.”
Decide wrote that he got here to view Ward for instance of his school’s fall from Catholic orthodoxy and conventional self-discipline right into a New Age emphasis on emotions and liberal notions about religion and politics.
Like Kavanaugh, Decide grew up in a Catholic Washington that shaped its personal social world, centered within the massive previous homes of Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac, locations as we speak referred to as house to millionaires however via a lot of the second half of the 20th century communities the place cops, civil servants and academics lived alongside legal professionals and docs.
The large homes have been good for giant Catholic households, and the lives of youngsters and fogeys alike revolved round a core set of establishments – parishes reminiscent of Our Woman of Mercy in Potomac and Blessed Sacrament in higher Northwest Washington, and the personal Catholic high faculties inside straightforward attain, similar to St. John’s School, Georgetown Visitation, Stone Ridge and Georgetown Prep.
Decide spent 20 years in Catholic schooling, from Our Woman of Mercy to Prep and on to Catholic College. However he got here to consider that he had been “cheated out of a Catholic education,” failing to be assigned the good theological works, the rigorous texts he devoured later in life. Slightly, he wrote in “God and Man” that at Prep he was “bombarded with drugs, alcohol, widespread homosexuality among the clergy.” The school at Prep, he stated, had morphed from “tough guys” to “hippies and leftists.”
Decide’s father, schooled at Blessed Sacrament, Gonzaga and Catholic College, might learn Latin fluently and readily used classical references. Decide, in distinction, wrote that he “learned about the female body, heard from New Age writers that I could create my own theological system, and learned about life in English class by reading ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ ”
“I was a Catholic illiterate kept that way in a Catholic school,” he wrote in “God and Man.”
Decide spent years struggling together with his religion. He relished boxing with God, questioning and testing his beliefs. He learn his father’s copies of books by G.Okay. Chesterton and Thomas Merton, works that embraced the thriller of religion, an concept that appealed to Decide’s perception that probably the most full individuals are those that, as Chesterton wrote, have “permitted the twilight . . . with one foot in earth and the other in fairyland.”
Decide, whose father labored as a author and editor at Nationwide Geographic, launched his personal journalism profession writing for left-leaning magazines and journals devoted to vary within the Catholic Church. However he quickly concluded that he had been led astray by liberals and secularists, and he turned towards conservative views on religion, tradition and politics.
A gifted polemicist with a broad array of passions and pursuits, Decide writes typically on films, rock and video video games, on theology and on what he views because the fallen nature of American masculinity. He has written in reward of handkerchiefs, “The Lego Movie,” Hugh Hefner, Marvel Comics’ creation of a Muslim superhero, and his favourite band, the Twilight Unhappy. He has lamented the decline of nice album cowl artwork, the crew minimize and the artwork of dialog.
He writes typically about his father, a towering determine in his life. “I wanted to be like him,” Decide wrote in one in every of his memoirs, “maybe even become a famous writer.”
Decide aimed to comply with in his father’s skilled footsteps, and he has been revealed in lots of native and nationwide magazines and newspapers. His e-book about his grandfather, Washington Senators first baseman Joe Decide, gained reward from The Publish, NPR and the Boston Herald.
However he additionally earned a status as a prickly author who might be troublesome to work with, based on a number of of his editors.
“Doctors have called it attention deficit disorder, psychiatrists have cited my behavior as a cry for attention from my distant, drinking father, but at the end of the day I simply had a problem with authority,” Decide wrote in “Wasted.” His conduct when he was consuming was, he wrote, “not dignified.”
Within the 1990s, he wrote about the District of Columbia arts scene for Washington Metropolis Paper, the choice weekly that served as an early profession cease for a lot of outstanding writers.
In 1998, Decide wrote a bit about 1950s-era swing dancing, recalled Brad McKee, the humanities editor on the time. However when Decide pitched extra articles about swing dancing, McKee rejected them; the weekly was extra targeted on the District’s booming punk-rock scene.
McKee stated Decide blew up at him after the rejections. McKee, who’s homosexual, stated Decide despatched a vituperative e-mail wishing him the identical destiny as Matthew Shepard, the homosexual school scholar who was crushed and left to die in Wyoming in 1998.
“He shows signs of true hatred,” stated McKee, now the editor of Panorama Structure journal. “It was one of those few kind of showstopping moments at the paper.”
McKee stated he forwarded the e-mail to his editor, David Carr, who banned Decide from writing for the paper once more.
Decide wrote occasional music articles for The Washington Submit, however within the early-2000s, Peter Kaufman, then the newspaper’s music editor, stated he terminated that freelance relationship over difficulties with Decide. Decide additionally wrote for different sections of The Submit however stated he stopped writing for the newspaper after an editor modified his characterization of the 1968 D.C. riots as a part of a “moral and cultural collapse” to “social upheaval.”
He wrote that he later utilized for however didn’t get a job on the now-defunct native information website TBD.com. He then revealed a bit within the Day by day Caller trashing the location, which was run by the corporate that then owned Politico and WJLA-TV, as “gay. Very, very gay. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. . . . But TBD is gay and leftist, and that makes it hectoring and didactic, not to mention journalistically compromised.”
In current years, Decide has turned primarily to conservative blogs and political retailers such because the Caller and American Spectator.
He additionally made some brief movies. Earlier than they have been scrubbed from the Web, the actor Alec Baldwin observed one and in 2014 despatched Decide a message on Twitter: “Let’s make a weird little film.”
Decide was thrilled. “It was the highlight of my year,” he wrote. He proposed to make a black-and-white brief that includes Baldwin and his daughter within the penthouse of a New York lodge studying the William Blake- illustrated “Divine Comedy.” Nothing ever got here of it.
Baldwin stated there was by no means something actual within the deal. “Judge sent me a bunch of flattering DMs after I followed him,” Baldwin stated in an e mail Thursday night time. “Said he wanted to write a piece on me for some conservative publication. I passed. Very quickly he was asking me for $ to invest in his film. I blocked him and deleted all of his messages.”
Decide additionally wrote about politics. Excerpts from his deleted Twitter web page present posts and retweets in reward of Trump and significant of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and ousted FBI chief James Comey.
Registered in Maryland as a Republican, Decide has described dwelling for years within the basement of his mother and father’ house in Potomac. Public data listing his residence at an tackle in Georgetown that seems additionally to be the tackle of a UPS retailer.
Decide has lived by way of robust occasions. He was handled for most cancers in 2008 and has written about the pressure of that ordeal.
He wrote affectingly of his father’s demise in 1996, however references to his father’s heavy consuming led Decide’s brother Michael to put in writing in Washingtonian journal about how the household “did come to fear one of its members. . . . Mark is a solipsist: spoiled as a child, always gazing inward, unable to recognize any pain but his own.”
Decide’s views about women and men appeared grounded in midcentury notions. In his high school yearbook, he cited a Noël Coward lyric, “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.” And in a 2013 column, he stated that though “there’s never any excuse to rape, a crime that I think is almost akin to murder . . . what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality.”
Way back to 1985, as a scholar at Catholic College, he wrote empathetic items within the scholar newspaper about the then-new AIDS epidemic, slamming “the attitude dominant in Amerikan Kulture” that homosexual intercourse was unnatural and the illness “some punishment from ‘heaven.’ ”
However as his political beliefs shifted, so did his strategy to intercourse and sexuality.
In 2003, a scholar named Eric Ruyak reported to school authorities that a Jesuit priest who was a instructor at Georgetown Prep had touched him inappropriately. Some Prep alumni, together with Decide, rallied across the instructor, the Rev. Garrett Orr, in accordance with a number of Prep graduates.
“Numerous alumni told me that Judge was going around saying I was emotionally unstable and a sexual deviant,” Ruyak stated Thursday. “He told people that the only reason I wasn’t being expelled was my dad was a powerful lawyer and president of Prep’s board.”
An investigation by Jesuit authorities later confirmed Ruyak’s account. Orr was positioned on a depart of absence from his order. When one other Prep scholar later alleged that Orr had sexually abused him, the priest was arrested. He pleaded responsible and was sentenced in 2011 to 5 years of probation.
“For years, I couldn’t shake Judge,” Ruyak stated. “He would write about the case to advance his agenda about the school being a nest of liberalism and homosexuality. This guy did unbelievable damage to me when I was a kid.”
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The Washington Submit’s Emma Brown, Alice Crites, Joe Heim and Ian Shapira contributed to this report.