Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden

Ms. Reade, a former Senate aide, has accused Mr. Biden of assaulting her in 1993 and says she told others about it. A Biden spokeswoman said the allegation is false, and former Senate office staff members do not recall such an incident.

A former Senate aide who last year accused Joseph R. Biden Jr. of inappropriate touching has made an allegation of sexual assault against the former vice president, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee this fall.

The former aide, Tara Reade, who briefly worked as a staff assistant in Mr. Biden’s Senate office, told The New York Times that in 1993, Mr. Biden pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers. A friend said that Ms. Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time. Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade’s said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden.

Tara Reade worked in Joe Bidens office for about eight months in 1982-3

A spokeswoman for Mr. Biden said the allegation was false. In interviews, several people who worked in the Senate office with Ms. Reade said they did not recall any talk of such an incident or similar behavior by Mr. Biden toward her or any women. Two office interns who worked directly with Ms. Reade said they were unaware of the allegation or any treatment that troubled her.

Last year, Ms. Reade and seven other women came forward to accuse Mr. Biden of kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. Ms. Reade told The Times then that Mr. Biden had publicly stroked her neck, wrapped his fingers in her hair and touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable.

Soon after Ms. Reade made the new allegation, in a podcast interview released on March 25, The Times began reporting on her account and seeking corroboration through interviews, documents and other sources. The Times interviewed Ms. Reade on multiple days over hours, as well as those she told about Mr. Biden’s behavior and other friends. The Times has also interviewed lawyers who spoke to Ms. Reade about her allegation; nearly two dozen people who worked with Mr. Biden during the early 1990s, including many who worked with Ms. Reade; and the other seven women who criticized Mr. Biden last year, to discuss their experiences with him.

No other allegation about sexual assault surfaced in the course of reporting, nor did any former Biden staff members corroborate any details of Ms. Reade’s allegation. The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden.

On Thursday, Ms. Reade filed a report with the Washington, D.C., police, saying she was the victim of a sexual assault in 1993; the public incident report, provided to The Times by Ms. Reade and the police, does not mention Mr. Biden by name, but she said the complaint was about him. Ms. Reade said she filed the report to give herself an additional degree of safety from potential threats. Filing a false police report may be punishable by a fine and imprisonment.

Ms. Reade, who worked as a staff assistant helping manage the office interns, said she also filed a complaint with the Senate in 1993 about Mr. Biden; she said she did not have a copy of it, and such paperwork has not been located. The Biden campaign said it did not have a complaint. The Times reviewed an official copy of her employment history from the Senate that she provided showing she was hired in December 1992 and paid by Mr. Biden’s office until August 1993.

The seven other women who had complained about Mr. Biden told the Times this month that they did not have any new information about their experiences to add, but several said they believed Ms. Reade’s account.

Last year, Mr. Biden, 77, acknowledged the women’s complaints about his conduct, saying his intentions were benign and promising to be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”

In response to Ms. Reade’s allegation, Kate Bedingfield, a deputy Biden campaign manager, said in a statement: “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. 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.”

Ms. Reade made her new allegation public as Mr. Biden was closing in on the Democratic presidential nomination after winning a string of primaries against his chief rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. Ms. Reade, who describes herself as a “third-generation Democrat,” said she originally favored Marianne Williamson and Senator Elizabeth Warren in the race but voted for Mr. Sanders in the California primary last month. She said her decision to come forward had nothing to do with politics or helping Mr. Sanders, and said neither his campaign nor the Trump campaign had encouraged her to make her allegation.

President Trump has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by more than a dozen women, who have described a pattern of behavior that went far beyond the accusations against Mr. Biden. The president also directed illegal payments, including $130,000 to a pornographic film actress, Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election to silence women about alleged affairs with Mr. Trump, according to federal prosecutors.

Mr. Trump has even boasted about his mistreatment of women; in a 2005 recording, he described pushing himself on women and said he would “grab them by the pussy,” bragging that he could get away with “anything” because of his celebrity.

Even so, Mr. Trump has at times attacked opponents over their treatment of women. The president has not mentioned Ms. Reade’s allegation, which has circulated on social media and in liberal and conservative news outlets.

New York Times

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