WASHINGTON — A former aide to Joe Biden is accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her through the early 1990s when he was a senator. Biden’s marketing campaign denies the fees.
In two latest interviews with The Associated Press, Tara Reade alleged the assault occurred within the basement of a Capitol Hill workplace constructing within the spring of 1993. She filed a police report in Washington on Thursday saying she was the sufferer of a sexual assault by an unnamed particular person in 1993, a replica of which was obtained by the AP.
It’s not the primary time Reade has made an accusation in opposition to the previous vice chairman. Last yr, Reade publicly accused Biden of inappropriate touching, however didn’t allege sexual assault.
In a press release, Biden deputy marketing campaign supervisor and communications director Kate Bedingfield stated the previous vice chairman has “dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” pointing to his work passing the Violence Against Women Act. She stated “he firmly believes that women have a right to be heard – and heard respectfully,” however added: “Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press.”
“What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen,” Bedingfield stated.
Reade’s cost comes at a pivotal time for Biden. The former vice chairman is searching for to unify the Democratic Party behind his marketing campaign because the get together’s presumptive presidential nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the first final week. Women are an important voting bloc for Democrats and any erosion of assist for Biden may sink his candidacy within the fall.
The November contest between Biden and President Donald Trump would be the first presidential race of the (hash)MeToo period, a motion that spurred quite a few ladies to return ahead with allegations of sexual assault, together with in opposition to a number of distinguished males in politics, leisure and different industries. Trump has additionally been accused of assault and undesirable touching by quite a few ladies, costs he denies. He was pressured to apologize through the 2016 marketing campaign after he was heard on a recording bragging about utilizing his fame to assault ladies.
Earlier within the Democratic major, Biden confronted accusations of undesirable touching by a number of ladies, who stated they had been uncomfortable with hugs, hand holding and different actions. Reade was among the many ladies who got here ahead on the time.
In latest weeks, she’s given a handful of interviews saying Biden’s actions went additional that she initially disclosed. In an interview with the AP, she detailed a 1993 encounter that she says occurred when she was requested by a supervisor to deliver Biden his fitness center bag as he was on his method right down to the Senate gymnasium. She says Biden pushed her in opposition to a wall within the basement of a Capitol Hill workplace constructing, groped her and penetrated her along with his fingers.
“He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?”’ she stated. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up.”
Reade, who was a employees assistant in Biden’s workplace on the time, stated she wasn’t conscious of any direct witnesses to the encounter. She informed the AP she did elevate accusations of sexual harassment, however not assault, in opposition to Biden in a number of conferences together with her supervisors, together with Marianne Baker, Biden’s govt assistant; Dennis Toner, Biden’s deputy chief of employees; and Ted Kaufman, the senator’s chief of employees.
In a press release supplied by the marketing campaign, Baker stated that within the practically twenty years she labored for Biden, “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period – not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone.”
The AP spoke to 5 present or former Biden staffers on Sunday, all of whom labored for him on the time of the alleged incident. None recalled such an incident or a report, and neither Toner nor Kaufman may recall Reade. Both stated what she had described was out of character for Biden.
“She did not come to me. I would have remembered her if she had, and I don’t remember her at all,” Kaufman stated.
Reade stated she filed a written report with a Senate personnel workplace. But she didn’t obtain a replica of it and has been unable to acquire one since as a result of, she says, Biden’s Senate information are at present on the University of Delaware, which has not but made them public.
The AP has been unable to confirm whether or not a report was made.
Reade says after complaining to supervisors, her job tasks had been scaled again and he or she was finally informed by Toner that she was not a great match for the job and inspired to discover a new one.
Reade informed the AP she spoke to not less than 4 folks about Biden’s conduct earlier than she went public together with her expertise: two pals, her brother and her mom. Her mom handed away, and her brother didn’t reply to a request for remark.
One good friend, who knew Reade in 1993, stated in an interview Sunday that Reade informed them concerning the alleged assault when it occurred. The particular person, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the scenario, didn’t point out the assault allegation throughout an preliminary interview with the AP final yr, however confirmed these particulars after Reade went ahead with them. The particular person stated they’d initially suggested Reade in opposition to sharing particulars of the assault due to the destructive response to her much less severe accusations of harassment.
The second good friend met Reade greater than a decade after the alleged incident and confirmed that Reade had a dialog with them in 2007 or 2008 about experiencing sexual harassment from Biden whereas working in his Senate workplace. But the good friend, who requested anonymity to guard the privateness of their household, made no point out of assault.
In the course of reporting on Reade’s allegations, the AP additionally contacted 21 former Biden staffers from the time and spoke to a number of of them. While some remembered Reade, none recalled any situations of inappropriate touching or habits on Biden’s behalf, or any complaints made by Reade.
Melissa Lefko, who labored as a employees assistant for Biden similtaneously Reade, stated Biden had little or no interplay with employees at their degree, and that Reade’s recollection of Biden’s conduct didn’t match her personal.
“When you work on the Hill, you know who the good guys are who the bad guys are and who you should avoid and Biden was a good guy, he was never, ever on that list of the bad guys,” she stated in an interview.
Biden’s conduct in the direction of ladies first got here beneath scrutiny simply earlier than he introduced his presidential marketing campaign final spring. Eight ladies, together with Reade, got here ahead with allegations that the previous vice chairman made them really feel uncomfortable with inappropriate bodily shows of affection.
Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to “be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.”
The AP spoke with Reade about these complaints in April 2019. During that interview, Reade alleged that Biden rubbed her shoulders and neck, performed together with her hair, and that she was requested by one other aide in Biden’s Senate workplace to decorate extra conservatively and informed “don’t be so sexy.” The AP declined to publish particulars of the interview on the time as a result of reporters had been unable to corroborate her allegations, and facets of her story contradicted different reporting.
In latest months, Reade got here ahead with the extra allegation of assault, talking first to progressive podcast host Katie Halper, earlier than The New York Times printed an in depth evaluation of her claims Sunday.
Reade’s story of sexual harassment had circulated for weeks in each conservative and progressive media shops. While Reade stated she supported Sanders or Elizabeth Warren within the Democratic major, she stated that her choice to return ahead with new particulars was not politically motivated.
In her Sunday interview with the AP, Reade stated that she was reluctant to share particulars of the assault throughout her preliminary conversations with reporters over a yr in the past as a result of she was petrified of backlash, and was nonetheless coming to phrases with what occurred to her.
“Already I was being threatened and kind of smeared, and I just I wasn’t ready,” she stated. “So I talked about the sexual harassment and what I was comfortable talking about, but I wasn’t ready to talk about sexual assault.”
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
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