1996 Court Document: Proof That Reade Complained About Sexual Harassment in Joe Biden's Office

| Washington Post

There is now documentary evidence, in the form of a 1996 court document, showing that Tara Reade complained about sexual harassment in Joe Biden's office at the time she was working for him.


Though there have been multiple friends and relatives who have told reporters that Reade talked about her treatment in Biden's office in the 1990s, the San Luis Obispo Tribune has now published a court document from Reade's 1996 divorce in which her ex-husband relates the trauma she experienced working in Biden's office.

Speaking of Reade, her ex-husband recounted in the filing, "I met Petitioner in the spring of 1993 while working in Washington, D.C. At the early stages of our dating, Petitioner felt comfortable confiding in me as we both worked for Members of Congress, and we shared many other common interests. On several occasions Petitioner related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden's office. Petitioner told me that she eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the Senator's office and left her position. I was sympathetic to her needs when she asked me for help, and assisted her financially, and allowed her to stay at my apartment with my roommate while she looked for work. It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on Petitioner, and that she is still sensitive and effected by it today."

There are a few things that jump out at me here: Given that this is a court filing, and at the time her then-husband, Theodore Dronen, was contesting a restraining order she had filed against him, there is very little reason to doubt the veracity of his account.

The account suggests that she was complaining about harassment in Biden's office at the time she was working for him in 1993. Many of the #MeToo stories relied on friends or relatives who attested to the fact that an accuser related her experience shortly after it happened or even within a few years. In this case, there is as close to iron-clad contemporaneous confirmation that she spoke of at least something happening to her at the time it happened.

The account does not directly say that Biden was the one who committed the harassment, just that it happened in the workplace of Biden's office.


The account mentions harassment but does not mention an assault in the way she now describes it — that Biden pushed her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers.

On the other hand, the account says, "It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on Petitioner, and that she is still sensitive and effected by it today." That could be read as suggestive of something more severe than, say, inappropriate hair sniffing or some of the other types of touching that Biden has been shown to do on camera.

So where does this put us? Over at Vox, Laura McGann reports in detail on her conversations with Reade going back a year and her difficulty reporting out the story. Last year, McGann writes, Reade said, "That she wanted me to think of this story as being about abuse of power, 'but not sexual misconduct.'” After having come forward with her more graphic assault accusation, McGann writes, "In a recent conversation, I asked Reade why she would say the media was shutting her down when she was initially so adamant with me (and other outlets) that this wasn’t a misconduct story. The only answer she gave was that she was speaking about the response to her claims 'collectively.' And in her opinion, the added details still fit her construct that 'this is not a story about sexual misconduct,' because, she told me, sexual assault itself is about power."

Now, it's certainly possible that Reade has embellished her account over time. However, the more recent details she has provided describing an assault do not necessarily contradict her prior claims. None of this proves what happened or what didn't in 1993. But it does offer definitive proof that she has been telling people that something happened to her while working in Biden's office as far back as when she was still working there.

What is abundantly clear by this point to any neutral arbiter is that her story is significantly more credible than Christine Blasey Ford's against Brett Kavanaugh, which prompted calls for him to withdraw.

In contrast to Reade, there is no evidence that Blasey Ford spoke of any sort of assault until a 2012 marriage therapy session — almost 30 years after the event. The therapy notes didn't mention Kavanaugh by name. In various accounts, Blasey Ford claimed the incident happened anywhere from the early to mid-1980s. All of the witnesses she claimed were at the party where she was assaulted, including her best friend, either had no recollection of the party or refuted her account. There is, to this day, no evidence that she even met Kavanaugh, whereas we know for a fact that Reade worked for Biden at the time she is claiming the assault happened. READ MORE

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