James Roche was Brett Kavanaugh’s roommate when both were students at Yale University in the early 1980s. Roche also was a good friend of Deborah Ramirez, another Yale student who has recently come forward and accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on October 3, Roche said that he believed Ramirez’s story. He criticized Kavanaugh for not admitting that he was a heavy drinker in college. And Roche also said that the FBI had not contacted him for questioning during their investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
Ramirez says that she was once at a small gathering of Yale students where everyone — including herself — was playing a drinking game. At one point, someone took out a plastic dildo. Later, Ramirez says, she was on the floor, drunk and slurring her words. She says two students were standing over her and then a third student — whom she later identified as Brett Kavanaugh — opened up his pants and exposed himself to her. She pushed him away, pushing his penis in the process, and he laughed at her.
Ramirez has spoken to both Democratic and Republican members of Congress about Kavanaugh. Her claims are also reported in a New Yorker article published late Sunday night. You can read the full New Yorker article here. And you can read more about Ramirez here.
James Roche told the New Yorker that he has no trouble at all believing that Ramirez is telling the truth. He has not yet responded to a request for comment from Heavy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Roche Said Kavanaugh Was a Frequent & Heavy Drinker
Roche was Kavanaugh’s roommate when they were both in their freshman year at Yale. Roche told the New Yorker that he never saw Kavanaugh do anything sexually inappropriate — but he also said that Kavanaugh was “frequently, incoherently drunk.” In a statement issued on Monday, Roche said that he often saw Kavanaugh getting back home late, and drunk. Roche said that Kavanaugh, normally a bit reserved, became “belligerent” when drunk. He added that “even by the standard of the time,” Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker.
He said that Debbie Ramirez was a close friend of his, and he described her as a “vulnerable outsider” who would be easy prey for some of the more predatory students at Yale. He said, “Is it believable that she was alone with a wolfy group of guys who thought it was funny to sexually torment a girl like Debbie? Yeah, definitely. Is it believable that Kavanaugh was one of them? Yes.”
However, Roche apparently also didn’t know about the alleged incident until recently, when the New Yorker contacted him for its article about Ramirez.
2. Roche Said He Doesn’t Believe Ramirez Would Make This Up
Roche had no prior knowledge of what happened between Ramirez and Kavanaugh. But he said he absolutely trusts Ramirez and doesn’t think it’s possible that she would invent something like this.
“Debbie and I became close friends shortly after we both arrived at Yale,” he told the New Yorker. “She stood out as being exceptionally honest and gentle. I cannot imagine her making this up.”
Ramirez has admitted that she was drunk on the night of the party. She says that she and the others were playing a drinking game in which each player would pick who had to drink next. She says that the others picked her often and, as a result, she got very drunk, very quickly.
3. Roche is the CEO of a Software Company in San Francisco
Roche graduated from Yale in 1988 with a BA in architecture. He was a freshman in 1983, like Kavanaugh, and the two were roommates in their freshman year.
Now, Roche is the CEO of a software company called Helix Re. Helix was formerly known as Flux Data. The company provides “advanced technology solutions” for real estate owners, operators and tenants. Helix prides itself on working with only a small group of top-tier private companies.
Shortly after graduating from Yale, Roche went to work in marketing for Evans and Sutherland, a Salt Lake City company that develops graphics for digital planetariums. He went on to work for a computer graphics company in Mountain View called SGI (SGI has since shut down). From there, Roche went to work for a software developing firm called Offermatica, based in San Francisco. He has been based in San Franciso ever since, working for Flux Data and then Helix Re.
4. Roche Said Despite Living Together, He & Kavanaugh Didn’t Socialize Much After Freshman Year
James Roche told KGO-TV he was Kavanaugh’s roommate in 1983, during their freshman year at Yale.
“We shared a two-bedroom unit in the basement of Lawrence Hall on the Old Campus. Despite our living conditions, Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends,” Roche said in a statement.
Roche said he does not have a political agenda.
“I do not consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda. I have shared this information with a small number of reporters who reached out to me directly because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her,” he told KGO.
5. Roche Says He Doesn’t Want to Talk More About Kavanuahg & Ramirez
Roche told KGO-TV he would not be giving other interviews or revealing more information about Brett Kavanaugh or Debbie Ramirez.
“This is all that I am comfortable sharing. If I could contribute more first-hand information, I would, but I will not be granting any more interviews or answering any more questions at this time,” he said.
“This is not my story,” he told the news station, but he said he wanted to speak up to support Ramirez.