Former neighbor of Biden’s accuser comes forward — as some Democrats struggle with supporting the ex-VP
Tara Reade is the former U.S. Senate aide who has alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 — an allegation that Biden’s campaign has flatly denied. However, some people who knew Reade back then, according to Business Insider, are saying that Reade made Biden-related allegations to them during the 1990s.
Lynda LaCasse, who was Reade’s next-door neighbor in the mid-1990s, said that Reade gave her details about the alleged assault around the time that she says it occurred.
“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” LaCasse told Business Insider.
Before he was chosen as then-candidate Obama’s running mate in 2008’s presidential election, Biden spent many years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate — and Reade, as a Senate aide, worked for him. Reade went on to work in the office of a California state senator in the mid-1990s, and one of her co-workers from that time, Lorraine Sanchez, alleged that Reade discussed Biden with her.
According to Business Insider’s Rich McHugh, Sanchez told Insider that she “recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington D.C. had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired after raising concerns.”
Reade, according to McHugh, “has said that in the spring or summer of 1993, she was told to meet Biden in a semi-private corridor to deliver a duffel bag. There, she said, Biden pushed her up against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. When she resisted his advances, Reade said, Biden expressed annoyance.”
In an official statement, Kate Bedingfield (Biden’s communications director) said, “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
LaCasse told Business Insider though although she plans to vote for Biden —this year’s presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — she nonetheless felt she had to come forward and share what Reade told her back in the 1990s.
“I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat,” LaCasse asserted. “And I’m for Biden regardless. But still, I have to come out and say this.”
In an article published in HuffPost on April 24, Emma Gray and Alanna Vagianos discussed Democratic women who won’t vote for President Donald Trump this year but are struggling with whether or not to vote for Biden in light of Reade’s allegations. Meraiya Otero Turner, a sexual assault survivor, told HuffPost, “How can I vote for a man who may have possibly made another woman suffer the same life-draining pain I’ve suffered since I was assaulted? Voting this year makes me feel like I’m having to trade my sanity to support (an alleged assailant), or to not vote and help Trump win.”
Gray and Vagianos explain that they interviewed “15 survivors of sexual assault about Reade’s allegation and how it affected their view of Biden’s candidacy."
They continued: "Almost all found Reade’s account highly credible. Some plan to vote for Biden nonetheless because they see him as the lesser of two evils and worry about the damage Trump would do with another four years in the White House. Others are more reticent to line up behind the presumptive Democratic nominee and say they plan to sit out the election.”
Madi Bell, a survivor of sexual assault who supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary, told HuffPost, “I am just so angry that we are left with this choice — that the United States is, in many ways, still so complacent and so willing to overlook sexual violence that we are left to choose between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. It’s so painful that allegations of sexual misconduct are seldom taken seriously and hardly ever disqualifying.”
However, Eliza Winfree, a Tennessee-based sexual assault survivor, told HuffPost, “Four more years of Trump would do more damage to more people than a Biden presidency. It feels like I’m betraying myself to do the most good I can for the most people, but I believe in voting with empathy for those who are being disenfranchised by this administration.”