Lynda LaCasse, a former neighbor to Tara Reade, says she and Reade discussed her alleged sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden between 1995 and 1996, telling Business Insider: “This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.”
In an interview with the AP, Reade detailed a 1993 encounter that she says occurred when she was asked by a supervisor to bring Biden his gym bag, as he was on his way down to the Senate gymnasium. She says Biden pushed her against a wall in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building, groped her, and penetrated her with his fingers.
“He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’” she said. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up.”
Reade said that she pulled away and Biden looked “shocked and surprised,” and replied, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.”
Reade, who was a staff assistant in Biden’s office at the time, said she wasn’t aware of any direct witnesses to the encounter.
Speaking to Business Insider, LaCasse said she recalls Reade becoming emotional as she recounted the alleged incident with Biden.
“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” said LaCasse. “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.”
“She was crying,” LaCasse continued. “She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report.”
“I don’t remember all the details,” she added. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”
LaCasse, a Biden supporter, is the first individual to corroborate Reade’s allegation.
“I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat,” LaCasse said. “And I’m for Biden, regardless. But still I have to come out and say this.”
In addition to LaCasse, Lorraine Sanchez, a former legislative staffer to California State Senator Jack O’Connell, told Business Insider that Reade lamented about being “sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC.”
“What I do remember,” Sanchez explained “is reassuring her that nothing like that would ever happen to her here in our office, that she was in a safe place, free from any sexual harassment.”
Sanchez recounts that Reade was talking about Biden.
Sanchez lauded Reade’s resolve to speak out about her allegation, telling Business Insider: “It takes great courage and strength to come forward.”
“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,” she added.
Sanchez reportedly worked with Reade between 1994 and 1996.
The development comes after fresh evidence supporting Reade’s assault claim resurfaced Friday. A video segment, dug up by NewsBusters, appears to show Reade’s mother talking about her daughter’s “problems” with a “prominent senator” on CNN’s Larry King Live in 1993.
#BREAKING: HERE is the video from August 11,1993’s ‘Larry King Live’ described by @TheIntercept (and Tara Reade) as allegedly featuring her mother calling in and alluding to Reade’s sexual assault claims against @JoeBiden (blog here by @ScottJW) https://t.co/fCgEqBnX7n pic.twitter.com/V5FGHskv56
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2020
“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him,” the caller who Reade identifies as her mother is heard saying.
The call was first reported by The Intercept.
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, issued a statement earlier this month denying the allegation.
“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 reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. 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,” said Bedingfield.
Biden has yet to personally respond to the allegation.
The AP contributed to this report.