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GOP Voter on Brett Kavanaugh Sex Assault Accusation: ‘What Boy Hasn’t Done This?’

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A Republican voter on a CNN panel this week questioned the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying “what boy hasn’t done this in high school?”

Christine Blasey Ford, now a college professor in California, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party around 1982. Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh groped her, attempted to remove her bathing suit and held his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. Kavanaugh has said the allegation is “completely false.”

On Thursday, CNN interviewed a panel of five Republican women in Florida, all of whom defended Kavanaugh and said they believe his denial. But comments by Gina Sosa, a former congressional candidate, have drawn the most controversy.

“I mean, we’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect. You know, I’m a woman. I respect,” Sosa told CNN. “But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.”

Sosa lost the Republican primary last month for the seat representing Florida’s District 27 in the U.S. House.

Some of the women in the CNN interview questioned why Ford waited so long to come forward. Victims of sexual assault often decide not to file a police report or come forward at all because they fear they won’t be believed.

But Sosa’s comments echoed arguments made by some other conservatives in defense of Kavanaugh, suggesting that if Ford’s accusations are true, Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior is still not disqualifying because it so common.

“If stupid, bad, or drunken behavior as a minor back in high school were the standard, every male politician in Washington, DC would fail. Every single one. Hypocrites,” Former Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted last week.

Recent polls show that public opinion on Kavanaugh is still starkly divided by party. But opposition to his confirmation has grown. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 38% of registered voters now oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, while 34% support it. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.27 percentage points.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com