Biden Judicial Nominee Michael Delaney Allegedly Intimidated Teenage Sexual Assault Victim

(Screenshot via Steve Guest, Twitter)

James Lynch Contributor
Font Size:

A teenage sexual assault victim alleged in an op-ed Thursday that Michael Delaney, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, attempted to intimated her in the course of a lawsuit.

Delaney defended St. Paul’s School, a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, against then-16-year-old student Chessy Prout’s civil suit after she was sexually assaulted by another student, Prout wrote in the Boston Globe. (RELATED: REPORT: Biden Judicial Nominee Is Diversity Trainer Who Argued For More Exceptions To First Amendment)

“In an attempt to intimidate me, Delaney filed a motion to strip me, then 16, of my anonymity if my supporters continued to make public statements about the case,” Prout said. “Instead, I came forward with my name and story. Because of his actions, I lost the privilege of privacy.”

Prout wrote that she and her family received death threats, rape threats and hateful messages from anonymous online commenters because of Delaney’s attempt to reveal her identity. St. Paul’s School and Prout’s family settled her lawsuit in 2018, two years after it was filed in federal court, the Concord Monitor reported.

In 2016, Owen Labrie, was convicted of statutory rape and other charges for assaulting Prout when she was a high school freshman two years earlier, the outlet reported.

Prout wrote that she was inspired by the Obama administration’s sexual assault initiative, “It’s On Us,” to become an outspoken activist for sexual assault victims by co-founding a non-profit to support survivors of sexual assault in high school and middle school. In 2017, she took part in a conference call about campus sexual assault with then-Vice President Biden and other activists.

“Biden’s nomination as well as the nominee’s support from Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire show me and other survivors that they approve of what Delaney and St. Paul’s School put me and my family through, which is far from my initial impression of their values,” Prout wrote.

Prout also recounted that she met with the White House before Delaney’s nomination to voice her displeasure with his potential selection. She also argued that Biden should withdraw Delaney’s nomination in order to remain true to his promises to sexual assault victims.

New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Shaheen and Hassan expressed support for Delaney’s nomination in a January press release. His nomination has yet to make it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans pressed him on Prout’s lawsuit.

Delaney previously served as New Hampshire attorney general and works as the director and chair of the civil litigation department at McLane Middleton, a prominent New England law firm.