The Washington Post has finally gotten around to covering the allegation by an ex-Biden staffer that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her. The ex-staffer, Tara Reade, made this allegation weeks ago. I wrote about it here.
Hoping to debunk Reade’s allegation, the Post sent four reporters into the field. The four reporters failed to accomplish this mission.
Instead, a friend of Reade’s corroborated her account of a conversation in which Reade described the incident soon after it allegedly happened in 1993. In addition, Reade’s brother said that, in the same year, she told him of inappropriate touchings by Biden.
The friend, then an intern for another Senator, told the Post that, in Reade’s account to her:
She was pinned up against the wall. His hands went under her skirt. . .He pushed his fingers into her, not at her invitation.
According to the Post, Reade’s brother initially told him of “parts of her experience with Biden, but not the alleged assault.” Later, the brother sent a text stating that he did recall Reade telling him that Biden put his hands under her clothes.
All of this is buried deep in the Post’s story. The Post leads with the fact that Reade “last year said Joe Biden touched her neck and shoulders. . .[but] is now accusing him of sexually assaulting her. . . .”
That’s an important fact in evaluating Reade’s assault allegation (though of much less value when it comes to a harassment claim). However, it’s also important that Reade’s friend confirms that Reade complained to her about an assault by Biden shortly after it allegedly occurred.
You can bet that if Reade were accusing a public figure the Post didn’t like of sexual assault, its story would lead with the corroboration. You can also bet that the Post wouldn’t have waited weeks to report on the case.
The Post reports that a Biden aide with whom Reade says she filed a sexual harassment complaint issued a statement denying she ever received one. This is a relevant fact. However, it’s not unheard of for loyalists to rally around a powerful male accused of harassment. The fact that Biden might soon become president must also be taken into account.
Again, I think the Post would be more skeptical of a statement, released by a campaign, if the accused were a Republican candidate for office.
Finally, the Post’s report includes this gem:
The Post found no other allegations against [Biden] as serious as Reade’s.
It’s heartening to read that no other woman accused Biden of attempting sexually to penetrate them. But what other allegations of sexual misconduct by Biden did the Post find?
The Post isn’t saying. If Biden were a Republican, it would be.
Reade’s sexual assault may or may not be true, but it hasn’t been shown with a high degree of probability to be false. If, as Biden has said, the presumption is in favor of women who come forward in cases like this, then the presumption remains in Reade’s favor.
Moreover, misguided presumptions aside, I believe it’s more likely than not that Biden inappropriately touched Reade in some fashion.