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On Wednesday morning, journalist and podcaster Katie Harper released an audio clip of an interview with Tara Reade, a former staff assistant to Joe Biden, in which Reade claims that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.
The story begins with Reade being instructed to rush a gym bag to Biden. Upon reaching then-Senator Biden with the bag, Reade claims that he greeted her by name, and proceeded to sexually assault her in a “side area.”
“We were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall,” Reade claims.
“His hands were on me, and underneath my clothes,” Reade later says. “He went down my skirt, but then up inside. He penetrated me with his fingers.”
Reade alleges that Biden was kissing her and asking her if she “wanted to go somewhere else,” and that after the alleged assault was complete, he said, “C’mon man, I heard you liked me.”
Reade told Harper that Biden’s alleged phrase stuck with her because it made her think about what she “might have said.”
For me, it was like everything shattered in that moment because I knew that we were alone. It was over, right? He wasn’t trying to do anything more – but I looked up to him, he was like my father’s age, he was like this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal. I just felt sick because when he pulled back, he looked annoyed, and he said something else to me that I don’t want to say, and then he said – I must have looked shocked … I don’t know how I looked, but I must have looked something because he grabbed me by the shoulders, and said, “You’re okay. You’re fine. You’re okay. You’re fine,” and then he walked away, and went on with his day.
Reade says she was later in a stairwell, “shaking” and “trying to grasp what had just happened and what I should do or what I should say.”
When Harper asked Reade if she wanted to speak about what she alleges Biden said, she replied that she was reluctant because it is “the thing that stays in my head.”
Regardless, she then told Harper what Biden allegedly said:
He just like pointed at me and he said, “You’re nothing to me!” And then he just looked at me and said, “You’re nothing. Nothing.” … I must’ve reacted because that’s when he took me by the shoulders and he said, “You’re okay. You’re fine. You’re okay.”
Harper notes at the beginning of the clip that there are no witnesses to the alleged assault, but that “Tara’s brother and Tara’s close friend” both “recalled her telling them about the incident at the time.”
Listen to the audio clip from Katie Harper’s interview with Tara Reade here:
Last April, several women came forward with stories of Biden acting inappropriately, perhaps the most infamous being that of Lucy Flores, who claimed that the former vice president kissed the back of her head and smelled her hair during a 2014 event.
At the time, Biden released the following statement in defense of himself:
— Bill Russo (@BillR) March 31, 2019
In a piece by Ryan Grim published by The Intercept on Tuesday, the journalist writes about Reade bringing forward a story about Biden’s alleged inappropriate behavior toward her last year.
Reade first spoke with “a local reporter, describing several instances in which Biden had behaved similarly toward her, inappropriately touching her during her early-’90s tenure in his Senate office.” The part of her story she decided to tell at the time was allegedly similar to Flores’, but the article resulted in negative feedback “along with accusations that she was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Reade had previously written a piece for Medium, which has since been removed, in which she praised Vladimir Putin.
The article by the local reporter, published by The Union in April 2019, reads in part:
Alexandra Tara Reade said that in 1993 she was in her mid-20s when Biden, then a senator from Delaware, touched her several times making her feel uncomfortable. Reade said her responsibilities in the senator’s office were reduced after she refused to serve drinks at an event – what she called a desire of Biden’s because he liked her legs. Reade said she felt pushed out and left Biden’s employ in August 1993 after some nine months.
As the Democratic primary began in earnest, Reade, “who first supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren and then Sen. Bernie Sanders,” writes Grim, decided to seek help from TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, an organization that “supports the brave individuals who have come forward, at great risk to themselves, to seek the justice they deserve and to protect others from similar behavior,” according to its official website.
“This Fund helps workers connect with lawyers and bring cases of workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation – regardless of industry, rank or role,” the website continues.
According to Reade, after an initial exchange that seemed fruitful, TIME’S UP later said that they couldn’t help her because the accused was running for president, and “assisting a case against him could jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status,” writes Grim.
As of publication, Biden has yet to publicly acknowledge Reade’s latest allegation.