Breaking through the coronavirus newsdemic these days is a story about alleged sexual assault by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer, has charged Biden with groping and digital penetration in a Senate basement in 1993. Reade was one of several women to come forward in the spring of 2019 alleging that Biden’s famously “handsy” manner with females made them uncomfortable. All stopped short of charging assault, and defenders of the former VP (including many women he has treated with this undue familiarity) ascribe his often odd-looking interactions – extended hugging, hair-stroking, neck-nuzzling – to his desire to comfort or put at ease his interlocutors. Biden has since acknowledged that his style of relating with females who are relative strangers needs to be revised in the #MeToo era.
Reade also refrained from accusing Biden of improper or illegal activity last spring, until March 25, 2020, when she first publicly charged him with assault in a radio interview. Reade states that she filed a complaint for sexual harassment at the time, but was too frightened to report the full incident. Reade did not keep a copy of the complaint, and so far none has been found in Senate records or Biden’s staff records.