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Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of an alleged sexual assault.
New information has emerged in recent days about an allegation of sexual assault against the presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by Tara Reade, a former assistant to the Biden Senate office. For the first time, someone officially declared that Reade had detailed the allegation to him decades ago in the same way that Reade now describes it.
On Wednesday, a former neighbor of Reade’s, Lynda LaCasse, told NPR a conversation they had about 25 years ago about the alleged assault. The revelation, first reported by Internal of the business community, comes with increasing pressure on Democrats to respond, as well as calls from Republicans for the charge to be dealt with more openly.
LaCasse said she remembered leaving her home in California to run away from a cigarette away from her children in 1995 or early 1996, when Reade joined her on her forehead. They were emotional, discussing custody issues and violence, and she remembers that Reade mentioned Joe Biden, a man she did not particularly know at the time.
“I remember she told me that Joe Biden put her against a wall and put her hands on her skirt and put her fingers in it,” said LaCasse.
Reade, as detailed in a previous NPR report, accused Biden of trapping her against a wall in the hallway of a Capitol Hill building and of penetrating her vagina with his fingers in the spring of 1993.
The Biden campaign denies the alleged incident, as do the longtime Biden employees for whom Reade worked at the time.
The Biden campaign did not respond specifically to the latest developments, but reminded NPR of its previous statement, which said that the alleged incident “absolutely did not happen.” Biden did not respond to the accusation himself.
LaCasse did not initially respond to several NPR phone calls and text messages, but thanks to Reade, NPR was able to reach her. Public records have confirmed that Reade and LaCasse were neighbors in Morro Bay, California in the 1990s.
LaCasse stated that Reade was very upset during their conversation and that she tried to comfort her; LaCasse also remembers advising her to file a police report.
LaCasse described herself as a “very strong Democrat” who supported Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren during the primaries and intends to support Biden in the general election.
She said she felt compelled to share “the truth” despite her personal policy.
When asked how she reconciles voting for someone she says assaulted her old friend, LaCasse said, “Biden is not a bad guy. I think he’s a good guy. He just has that – it just happened. “
Then she said, “And it happened, not fair happened, it happened. “LaCasse declined to respond to the way she thinks other voters should consider this allegation when they suspect whether Biden should be president or not.
Information and questions grow
Other new information has emerged in the past few days, including a video, which Reade says includes his mother calling on a cable TV program at the time of the alleged incident, and another interview with a former colleague of Reade’s.
Lorraine Sanchez, who worked in the same California state legislator’s office as Reade in the mid-1990s, also spoke with Internal of the business communitysaying that she remembers Reade saying that her former boss in Washington, D.C., sexually harassed her. She did not mention an assault, but the harassment is a separate allegation Reade made against Biden. He has also been denied by several former Biden staff.
Courtesy of Tara Reade
Additionally, a video from a 1993 episode of CNN Larry King Live Reade said last week that her mother understood her mother, whom she allegedly spoke to about the alleged assault at the time. Reade’s mother has since died.
In the video, an unnamed woman called into the show, identified only as being from San Luis Obispo, California. The caller said, “Hello. I wonder what a staff member would do besides going to the press in Washington. My daughter just left there after working for a prominent senator and couldn’t solve her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to not do it out of respect for him. ”
It does not explain what the “problems” were, nor does it mention sexual harassment, sexual assault, Joe Biden or Tara Reade.
Reade said her mother encouraged her to file a police report in 1993, which she did not do.
Earlier this month, Reade decided to file a report on the alleged assault with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., because she was concerned for her safety after being subjected to “online harassment”. The statute of limitations to continue the alleged assault has expired, and a law enforcement source told NPR that the case is not under active investigation.
NPR has spoken with several Biden staff since the time Reade worked for him, and none of them has been able to confirm Reade’s memories of harassment or assault. Many of them described an office culture that promoted and cultivated women at a time when it was not the norm.
Biden’s campaign did not respond separately to the latest developments, but Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield previously released this statement disputing the allegation: “Vice President Biden has devoted his public life to changing the culture and laws regarding violence against women. He wrote and fought for the adoption and re-authorization of the historic law on violence against women. He firmly believes that women have the right to be heard – and to be heard respectfully. Such allegations should also be investigated diligently by an independent press. it’s wrong. It absolutely did not happen. “
More political pressure on Democrats
Reade’s allegation put the Democrats in an uncomfortable position, torn between defending the alleged Democratic candidate and the belief of all women who make allegations against powerful men.
The additional information renewed attention to Biden’s behavior and put pressure on the alleged Democratic candidate to respond, which he has not yet done directly. At the same time, President Trump’s allies are eager to pounce on and amplify the allegations, accusing the media of understating the story of the allegations against Republican men, highlighting in particular the frenzy surrounding the allegations against the judge of the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh upon confirmation. process.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Radio: “At the very least, it is pretty obvious that the same people who were scandalized by allegations – unproven allegations against Justice Kavanaugh when he was in high school, appeared to have little or no interest, or certainly not as much interest, in suggestions for inappropriate behavior by an adult in the Senate. ”
Republicans are starting to put more direct pressure on the Democrats on the merits of the allegation, despite the fact that more than a dozen women have publicly accused President Trump of various incidents of sexual assault, which he denies.
Asked about Reade’s allegations, some of Biden’s allies point to his legislative record on women’s issues, in particular the Violence Against Women Act.
Biden said that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., who was one of the main voices calling for the resignation of former Democratic Senator Al Franken after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him in 2017. week.
“So when we say” believe women “, it is for this express intention of making it possible for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard. And in this allegation, that’s what Tara Reade did, “said Gillibrand. told reporters on a call. “She came forward, she spoke and they investigated in several media. Vice President Biden called these investigations for himself. Vice President Biden vehemently denied these allegations and I support Vice President Biden. “
Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic presidential candidate for Georgia, who expressed a keen interest in being Biden’s running mate, told CNN on Tuesday that she also believed the former vice president.
“I believe that women deserve to be heard and I believe that they should be listened to, but I also believe that these allegations must be investigated by credible sources,” she said. “I believe the Biden I know, and I think it will make women proud; it will make America proud, “added Abrams.