A court document has surfaced showing that Tara Reade – a former Senate staffer for Joe Biden who has accused him of sexual assault – told her then-husband she was harassed while working in his office.
The 1996 court declaration, exclusively obtained by the San Luis Obispo Tribune in California, reveals that Reade told her now ex-husband, Theodore Dronen, about a experiencing “sexual harassment” when she was still an employee of Biden.
On “several occasions,” Reade told Dronen about “a problem she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in US Senator Joe Biden’s office,” he wrote in the declaration, adding that she later told him that she “struck a deal with the chief of staff of the senator’s office and left her position.”
It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on [Reade], and that she is still sensitive and effected (sic) by it today.
The document stops short of pinning the allegation on Biden himself, however, only relaying that Reade said she was harassed while working for him.
Dronen filed the declaration in response to a similar document penned by Reade, which requested a restraining order against him soon after the couple decided to divorce. While he contested many of the claims made in Reade’s own declaration, Dronen did not dispute the alleged harassment, saying that it continued to “color [Reade’s] perception and judgement” at the time.
Reade initially accused Biden of harassment and inappropriate touching in April 2019, alleging the then-senator “used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck.” But nearly one year later, she intensified the allegation to outright sexual assault, saying that in 1993, Biden had pressed her up against a wall, kissed her neck and forcibly penetrated her with his fingers despite her objections. She claimed she hadn’t previously spoken out publicly for fear of retribution, but noted she filed a complaint with the Senate at the time.
Though Dronen’s declaration remains the only written record of Reade’s allegation to date, a 1993 clip from ‘Larry King Live’ shows an unnamed caller – identified by Reade as her late mother – saying her daughter had “problems” while working for a high-profile senator, but chose not to go public “out of respect” for him. She did not specify what the “problems” were, but some have taken the clip as corroboration of Reade’s story.
After months of silence on the allegations, Biden finally addressed them on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, flatly denying any inappropriate contact with Reade. But the 2020 hopeful insisted that his Senate records – filed away at the University of Delaware – remain sealed, arguing they contained nothing about Reade or any “personnel records” at all, and that releasing the documents would only give “fodder” to his political opponents.
Despite Biden’s denial, however, Reade said on Thursday that she would be “absolutely” willing to testify under oath and even take a polygraph test, provided Biden would do the same.
“I’m not a criminal; Joe Biden should take the polygraph,” Reade said in her first TV interview since Biden, now the presumptive Democratic nominee for 2020, brushed off her accusations.
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