Biden says alleged sex assault ‘never happened’

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by Michael Mathes

US presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday emphatically denied sexually assaulting a former aide, saying the incident she says occurred 27 years ago “never happened.”

The former vice president thus broke a month of silence on the most potentially damaging claims he has confronted since launching his White House bid a year ago. Republicans have weaponized them in an effort to damage his prospects against President Donald Trump in November’s election.

“They aren’t true. This never happened,” Biden said in a statement regarding the accusations made by Tara Reade, a former staffer in his US Senate office.

The campaign of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had forcefully denied the allegations, but Biden himself had yet to address them publicly until now.

Biden, 77, said Reade’s then-supervisor and former senior staffers in his office “have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues.”

Reade said on a podcast in March that then-senator Biden sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor in 1993, when she was 29.

He pinned her against a wall when she brought him a gym bag, put his hands “down my skirt” and violated her, said Reade, now 56.

Reade’s public account evolved over time. In early 2019, when Biden was preparing his presidential bid, she was among multiple women who accused Biden of touching them inappropriately in the past, or in ways that made them uncomfortable.

She has since presented a more severe claim of assault to media outlets, and filed an incident report with the Washington police in early April in which she did not name Biden.

Biden went on a morning news show to publicly refute the claims.

“It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened, and it didn’t,” Biden told MSNBC.

“I don’t know why after 27 years all of this gets raised,” Biden added. “But I’m not going to question her motive. I’m not going to attack her.”

But he stressed that “I have a right to say, look at the facts. Check it out.” (AFP)

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