Elections

Paul: GQ allegations 'absolutely untrue'

Rand Paul, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate
Rand Paul, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate

FRANKFORT — Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul denied Tuesday trying to kidnap a woman and force her to use illegal drugs while he attended Baylor University in the early 1980s.

The denial came a day after GQ published on its Web site an anonymous woman's allegations that Paul and a classmate blindfolded and tied her up, took her to their apartment, tried to force her to use marijuana and made her bow down to a god known as "Aqua Buddha."

Appearing on the Neil Cavuto show on Fox News, Paul said the article was "outrageous and ridiculous."

He said the allegation that he kidnapped the woman and forced her to use drugs was "absolutely untrue" and worthy of a libel lawsuit.

"No, I never was involved with kidnapping. No, I was never involved with forcibly drugging people," Paul said.

When Cavuto asked whether the woman's allegation could have been a college prank, as opposed to kidnapping, Paul declined to provide further details about the incident.

"Well, I'm not really going to try to go back 27 years and remember everything I did in college. ... I don't think that really politicians should be asked to answer anonymous accusers from 27 years ago," Paul said. "But I will categorically deny that I ever kidnapped anyone or forced anybody to use drugs."

Baylor is a private Baptist university in Waco, Texas.

The woman, identified in the GQ article only as a clinical psychologist and a teammate with Paul on a swim team at Baylor, claimed Paul and another man in the secret organization known as the NoZe Brotherhood "never hurt her or did anything wrong."

"But the whole thing was kind of sadistic. They were messing with my mind. It was some kind of joke," she said.

Efforts by the Herald-Leader to identify and contact the woman were not successful.

Reporters shouted questions to Paul late Tuesday afternoon while he was walking into the Lexington home of Kelly Knight for a private fund-raiser for his campaign and the state Republican Party, but he did not reply.

Paul's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said Monday that Paul was at Baylor in the early 1980s, competed on the swim team and was active in Young Conservatives of Texas.

Nick Joos, Baylor's senior associate athletic director, said Tuesday he does not believe Baylor had a varsity men's or women's swimming team in the early 1980s. Paul attended the school from the fall of 1981 to the summer of 1984 before he was accepted into Duke University's medical school without an undergraduate degree.

Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the school had club swim teams in the early 1980s but that those team rosters were not available.

Fogleman said the NoZe Brotherhood is "an unofficial satirical organization known for its share of pranks."

Marc Burckhardt, an Austin, Texas, artist, said Tuesday in a phone interview he was a member of the organization with Paul but was "not close with him."

Burckhardt said he had not heard of the alleged abduction until a GQ reporter brought it up. He said he has not talked to Paul since his college days.

Burckhardt described the NoZe Brotherhood as "a gadfly organization, not a fraternity, made up of smart students who were just trying to make it in college."

Mary Long of Belton, Texas, wrote a book about the brotherhood with her husband, Dr. William B. Long, who died last February.

She said the organization was called the Nose Brotherhood when it was formed at Baylor about 1926. In the mid-1960s, it "changed radically," she said. "It became known for its anti-social activities and was banned."

Nose was banned from the campus in 1965 and again in 1978, when President Abner McCall suspended NoZe for being "lewd, crude and grossly sacrilegious," according to a 1997 article in the school newspaper that was quoted by Baylor Magazine in 2003.

Burckhardt said he was not aware of any criminal or sacrilegious activities by the group during his time at Baylor.

Paul's campaign tried to use the GQ.com article to its advantage, sending out e-mails asking for contributions to fight the allegations.

GQ stood by its story.

"We've vetted, researched, and exhaustively fact-checked Jason Zengerle's reporting on Rand Paul's college days, we stand by the story, and we gave the Paul campaign every opportunity to refute it," editor-in-chief Jim Nelson said in a statement Monday night.

The campaign of Paul's Democratic challenger, Jack Conway, has not commented. But Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon issued a statement Tuesday calling on Paul "to come clean with the people of Kentucky on these accusations."

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