After accusing the former US Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching, Tara Reade, Biden's former senate staffer, has levelled serious allegations of sexual assault against him. The allegations come at a crucial time when Biden has emerged as the presidential nominee of the Democratic party, after Vermont senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 Presidential race.
Tara Reade's sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden
Recounting the alleged assault in an interview with the Associated Press, Reade said that it happened in 1993 in the basement of a Capitol Hill building. According to her, she was asked by a supervisor to bring Biden his gym bag as he was on his way down to the Senate gymnasium.
It was then that Biden pushed her against a wall, groped her and penetrated her with his fingers. "He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, 'Do you want to go somewhere else?'" she said. "I remember wanting to say stop, but I don't know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up".
She said that Biden was "shocked and surprised", after she pulled away and said "Come on, man, I heard you liked me".
Earlier, she was among the women who had alleged sexual harassment, but not assault. On Thursday (April 9), she filed a a police report in Washington, in which she alleged that she was sexually assaulted by an unnamed man in 1993.
When asked why she didn't disclose the details of the incident, earlier, Reade said: "I was being threatened and kind of smeared, and I just I wasn't ready". "So I talked about the sexual harassment and what I was comfortable talking about, but I wasn't ready to talk about sexual assault".
The allegations come at a crucial for Biden as women are a major voting bloc for the party.
How did Joe Biden's campaign react?
Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield issued a statement in which she said that the former V.P. has "dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women", a reference to his work in the passage of the 'Violence Against Women Act'.
"He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard and heard respectfully", but "such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press".
"What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen", she added.
Last spring, just around the time when he announced his presidential bid, multiple women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Joe Biden.
The 2020 Presidential contest between Donald Trump and Biden will be crucial for the #MeToo movement, as both have been accused of sexual harassment.
In 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump apologized after a video of him bragging about sexually assaulting multiple women surfaced.