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VICTOR JOECKS: Believe all women? Former staffer accuses Biden of sexual assault

Updated March 31, 2020 - 9:46 pm

By his own standard, the public should presume that Joe Biden is guilty of sexual assault.

Last week, Tara Reade accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Reade was working in his Senate office at the time. She claims that Biden forced her against a wall, started kissing her and put his hand down her skirt and between her legs. She says that she pulled away and that Biden told her, “You’re nothing to me.”

Reade says she told her mother, brother and a friend on Capitol Hill about the assault. Her mom has passed away, but The Intercept reports that her brother and friend confirm they heard this story at the time.

Last year, Reade told a California newspaper that Biden “used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” making her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t accuse him of sexual assault in that interview.

In mid-March, Reade said she “tried to file a complaint against him” at the time and that Biden “destroyed my career.”

These are serious allegations that present a difficult problem for the public. It’s hard to evaluate who’s telling the truth in a decades-old he said/she said. But not according to Joe Biden.

“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” Biden said in 2018. The former vice president was responding to a question about Christine Blasey Ford accusing then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

If that’s the standard, then Biden must be presumed guilty of sexual assault. His campaign has produced no evidence of his innocence, just a statement saying the “accusations are false.”

It’s also worth noting that Reade’s story is much more credible than Ford’s accusation. Ford didn’t remember where the alleged assault happened. Reade does. Ford didn’t tell anyone about the supposed incident for decades. Reade did. The people Ford identified as being at the party deny that it ever happened. Reade’s friend and brother confirm that she told them about this incident shortly after she says it occurred.

Despite all the evidence contradicting Ford’s accusations, Biden said he believed her. Based on available evidence, it’s more likely that Reade is telling the truth than Ford.

It’s astonishing, then, that many national mainstream media outlets haven’t reported on this accusation. Yes, coronavirus is dominating the news, but Biden is the likely Democratic presidential nominee. If Ford’s evidenceless accusation was worthy of wall-to-wall news coverage, then this story deserves widespread coverage, too.

At this point, there isn’t enough evidence to judge Biden’s guilt or innocence. But Biden is on record downplaying the need for proof — when it was politically convenient. Whether or not he sexually assaulted Reade, Biden’s hypocrisy is exposed for all to see.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 10 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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