Tara Reade, Joe Biden

Tara Reade, was a former Senate staff assistant of Joe Biden, in 1992 and ’93 for about eight months.

In interviews, she said that the presumptive Democratic nominee shoved her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers in 1993, a claim that Biden strongly denies. Reade first went public with her story on a podcast in March 2020; in 2019, she accused Biden of sexual misconduct, saying he used to run his fingers along her neck and touch her shoulders, but maintains she was too afraid to share the full account until now.

Biden firmly denies Reade’s allegations.

In March of last year, Reade told the Union, a Nevada County, California, paper, that Biden had a habit of touching her inappropriately when she worked for him between 1992 and 1993. “He used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” she said. “I would just kind of freeze and wait for him to stop doing that.” According to the Union, a “confidante” of Reade’s confirmed the account. Reade also added that she was fired over her refusal to serve drinks at an event.

Last month, she expanded on the allegation on the Katie Halper Show, telling the filmmaker that Biden assaulted her when she was dropping off a gym bag with him in spring 1993. “I handed him the thing and he greeted me,” Reade said. “There was no like exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.”

“It happened all at once,” she continued. “His hands were on me and underneath my clothes. And then he went down my skirt, but then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers. And he was kissing me at the same time.” Reade said Biden asked her if she “wanted to go somewhere else,” and when she broke away from him, that he said: “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.”

Reade says she subsequently told her mother, now deceased, and two friends, who confirmed to the Times that she’d shared her account with them. She also says she made harassment complaints to Marianne Baker, Mr. Biden’s executive assistant, and two of his top aides, Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman, without getting into specifics. When they didn’t do anything, she says she filed a written complaint with “a Senate personnel office,” although the Times couldn’t find a copy of the paperwork. Nonetheless, Reade alleges that she later experienced workplace retaliation — she says a number of her responsibilities, including intern management, were taken away — which culminated with Kaufman firing her.

What the Times says it found.

In the course of its reporting, the Times says it “found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden,” nor any “other allegation about sexual assault.”

Kaufman, whom the Times identifies as a “longtime friend of Mr. Biden’s,” told the paper that he “did not know” Reade and that Reade “did not come to” him. Toner called the allegations “preposterous” and uncharacteristic of Biden, saying of Reade: “I don’t remember her. I don’t remember this conversation. And I would remember this conversation.” Baker said, via Biden’s campaign: “I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone.”

Although the Times says that none of Reade’s former co-workers remember her saying anything about the alleged incident, her brother and two friends do recall her talking about her “traumatic experience” while working in Biden’s office. Two of the interns she supervised also said that, while they don’t remember her discussing any inappropriate conduct by Biden, she did “abruptly stop supervising them” in April 1993.

Many women have accused Biden of inappropriate behavior.

Eight women, including Reade, have recalled instances where Biden inappropriately kissed, hugged, and touched them. Attorney Lucy Flores wrote that, when she was running for Nevada’s lieutenant governor in 2014, Biden came up behind her at a campaign rally and smelled her hair before kissing her on the head.

Still, the mother’s interview doesn’t specifically corroborate Reade’s latest allegations of assault, and could be referring more to the bullying allegations she raised last year. In a 2020 interview, Reade laid more blame with Biden’s staffers for “bullying her” than with Biden himself, The Washington Post reported.

Reade has come forward before: Last year, when multiple women emerged claiming inappropriate touching by Biden.

Reade, at the time, claimed Biden put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed his fingers up and down her neck, but was unable to gain traction on her story aside from an article in a local newspaper.

But in recent weeks, Reade told a far more graphic account, with different and more serious details, raising the allegation to the level of sexual assault.

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