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What are the sex attack allegations against Joe Biden?

BBC News

 

Tara Reade, 56, worked as a staff assistant to Mr Biden from 1992-1993 when he was a senator for the US state of Delaware. In recent interviews, she has said that in 1993 her former boss forced her against a wall and put his hands under her shirt and skirt after she delivered him his gym bag.

 

"There was no exchange, really, he just had me up against the wall," she said to podcast host Katie Halper in March 2020. "I remember it happened all at once... his hands were on me and underneath my clothes." He then penetrated her with his fingers, she said. "I remember him saying, first, as he was doing it 'Do you want to go somewhere else?' and then him saying to me, when I pulled away... he said 'Come on man, I heard you liked me,'" she said. "That phrase stayed with me."

 

Ms Reade filed a criminal complaint on 9 April 2020 with police, saying she was a victim of sexual assault but did not name Mr Biden. She said in a tweet that she filed the complaint "for safety reasons only", as the statute of limitations for her claim have expired and she had begun to receive online threats.

 

Ms Reade was one of several women who have come forward to accuse Mr Biden of inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing, though none described his actions as sexual assault at the time. Three people have now backed her account of being assaulted, although none say they were witnesses to it. Her brother, former neighbor and former colleague have said that they heard her describe the accusation against her boss shortly after the alleged incident.

 

The records of Mr Biden's 36-year career as a US senator are being held at the University of Delaware, which says it will not release any papers until two years after Mr Biden leaves public life. Ms Reade claims the records will contain evidence that she complained to her superiors about Mr Biden, and perhaps that other members of his staff may have made similar accusations.

 

Mr Biden, 78, "firmly believes that women have a right to be heard - and heard respectfully", said his campaign spokeswoman. "Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue."

 

Ms Reade was one of several women who have come forward to accuse Mr Biden of inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing, though none described his actions as sexual assault at the time. In response, Mr Biden pledged to be "more mindful" in his interactions.