Who Is Renate Dolphin? Woman Behind 'Renate Alumnus' in Kavanaugh Yearbook Withdraws Support for Judge

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh leaves his house as U.S. Marshalls try to hide him in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on September 25. One of 65 women who had signed a letter vouching for Kavanaugh’s character and behavior toward females has now withdrawn her support for him. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Scrutiny over the student years of beleaguered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deepened even further as one of the women who initially backed him appeared to withdraw her support after learning she had been the subject of an inside joke among his friends.

Renate Schroeder Dolphin was among 65 women who, saying they knew Kavanaugh during high school, signed a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee that vouched for his character and behavior toward women. Kavanaugh's years at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland are being examined because of allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her when he was a student there, which he denies.

But after Dolphin learned of the appearance of the word "Renate" at least 14 times in the school's 1983 yearbook, including in a group photo of football players described as "Renate Alumni," she seemed to withdraw her support.

"I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago," Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. "I don't know what 'Renate Alumnus' actually means. I can't begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment."

Two of Kavanaugh's classmates told the Times that the mentions of "Renate" were part of the football players' unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.

Sean Hagan, a Georgetown Prep student at the time, told the Times, "They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate. I can't express how disgusted I am with them, then and now."

Dolphin, 53, now lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, where she is on the town's health and human services board.

Lawyers for Kavanaugh told CNN in a statement that the Dolphin and Kavanaugh were friends in high school. "He admired her very much then, and he admires her to this day," the statement read, according to CNN. "The language from Judge Kavanaugh's high school yearbook refers to the fact that he and Ms. Dolphin attended that one high school event together and nothing else."

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh defended himself on television Monday, telling Fox News that he denies any wrongdoing. "I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit," he said.