Two more acquaintances have corroborated former Senate staffer Tara Reade’s claims that she was sexually assaulted and harassed by former Vice President Joe Biden in 1993. Speaking to Business Insider, Lynda LaCasse, Reade’s former next door neighbour, and Lorraine Sanchez, a former colleague who worked with Reade in the California legislature, both confirmed that they spoke to Reade about the alleged impropriety in the mid-1990s. The accounts of the two women amount to the most substantial support for Reade’s accusations thus far.
"This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it," LaCasse told Business Insider. “I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolised him. And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”
Sanchez, who worked with Reade in the mid-90s, also called Reade's ongoing complaints that her boss was sexually harassing her and that she was fired after reporting this treatment.
Reade's allegations have become more prominent recently after various media attention. During a March 25 appearance on The Katie Halper Show podcast, Reade claimed that Biden pushed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her during her time as a staffer in his Senate office. She also reported that she was alleviated of some of her duties as a supervisor following the assault, claims that a former Senate intern later corroborated with the Washington Post.
Last Friday, more evidence emerged buttressing Reade’s allegations after The Intercept surfaced a call matching the description of one Reade claimed her mother had placed to the Larry King Show seeking advice for her daughter, who was experiencing “problems” in the office of a “prominent senator.” Reade has long maintained that she told her mother, brother, and a friend about the assault when it first happened, and a report by the New York Times confirmed that Reade did disclose the allegations to her brother.
The Biden campaign continues to stress that "this absolutely did not happen." “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorisation of the landmark Violence Against Women Act" Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said in a statement to Refinery29. "He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. 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."
The allegations put voters who value gender rights and reproductive justice in the unenviable position. Both Biden — the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — and incumbent president Donald Trump stand accused of sexual assault. The choice now remains between supporting Biden, a candidate who is not only facing assault allegations, but who stands accused of silencing Anita Hill, and sitting President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by at least 20 women.
“It takes great courage and strength to come forward,” Sanchez told Business Insider of Reade’s allegations. “It’s much easier to keep silent. However, I also understand the duty we have as women to share our story regardless of who the perpetrator may be.”