[Editor’s note: What follows is one woman’s account of the Scott Walker she knew at Marquette University. To the extent possible we have verified its accuracy, including the accuracy of details not printed here in order to protect the identities of the people involved. All of the elements are consistent: the principals were at Marquette University when the incidents recounted here allegedly happened, and “Ruth” did have a baby shortly thereafter.]
“First off, let me be clear, set the stage here … I’ve had a high level of integrity all the way back to my early days as a kid when I earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and have shown that during my time in the State Assembly, as the County Executive, and now as the Governor of the State of Wisconsin. I will continue to have high integrity long after I’m in this position and long after this whole process is complete.” –Scott Walker
Bernadette Gillick was a college freshman in 1988 when she first met Scott Walker. It was spring semester, and she had just transferred to Marquette University. She was assigned a room in O’Donnell Hall (then a women’s dormitory), which she shared with her new roommate, Ruth (not her real name). Ruth was dating Scott Walker, who was 20 at the time, and, according to Bernadette, Ruth was deeply in love with him.
Midway through that spring semester, Bernadette alleges, Ruth found out she was pregnant. She informed her boyfriend, Scott, and initially he was supportive. Yet that support changed to callous indifference for his girlfriend’s predicament after Scott informed his parents of the pregnancy.
Bernadette reports that at this point Scott began denying that he was the father of the baby, and when Ruth said she was considering an abortion, he claimed he didn’t care, as he wasn’t the father anyway.
Bernadette remembers being present when Ruth was dealing with the wrath of Scott’s mother, who allegedly admonished Ruth for trying to “ruin [her son’s] reputation.”
“I supported her [Ruth] as he [Scott] went from encouraging her to get an abortion, to telling me it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut, to denying that he was the father and having his own mother call her and tell her to stop erroneously accusing her son of paternity,” Bernadette recounts.
It was a “horrible time” for her friend. “Her life was changed tremendously and she took the high road in the face of incredible adversarial conditions. Imagine her being 18 years old and pregnant, walking around Marquette’s Jesuit Catholic campus with her boyfriend denying he was the father,” says Bernadette.
All this was taking place while Walker was running for student body president and serving as chair of the Marquette chapter of Students for Life.
According to Bernadette, Walker finally had to concede after the birth and paternity test, but “he hid everything he could and had little to do with the child.”
After consulting with her family, Ruth decided against an abortion. Bernadette was with Ruth in the hospital for the birth of her child later that year (and says Walker was not present), and later stood up as a bridesmaid in Ruth’s 1992 marriage to another man.
Why did Bernadette come forward with this story?
Dr. Bernadette Gillick is now a highly esteemed college professor and researcher at the Gillick Pediatric Research Lab at the University of Minnesota, specializing in brain plasticity and neurorehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy. Through her attorney, Mike Fargione, she issued a statement: “It is rare that you will ever hear from me on issues of politics… but I’m asking you to consider what I have to share …”
Bernadette recounts how, in the run up to the 2012 Wisconsin recall election, she watched a televised debate between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett. As Walker talked about his “lifelong integrity” her anger grew. This was a man who had abandoned his pregnant young girlfriend — completely turned his back on her at the most fragile point in her life. She notes his “now-convenient ‘pro-life’ proclamations” after burying his past “indiscretion.”
Despite repeated attempts to contact Walker and his campaign staff for comments, only one person responded to our request. Former campaign staffer Luke Fuller refused to comment, saying he no longer works for the Walker campaign and cannot reveal the source of his current employment.