Sometimes the world of crime and justice collides with the body politic. This is one of those times, although with all the news about the COVID-19 pandemic this item may have escaped widespread notice.
A police report, filed in Washington D.C. in early April, accuses former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting one of his young staffers in 1993. There is now a police investigation underway even though the statute of limitations for prosecuting such a crime has expired.
Tara Reade, 56, of California made the complaint. She says 27 years ago Biden physically assaulted her at the U.S. Capitol. She claims he pinned her against a wall, kissed her, thrust his hand up her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers. She reports that at the time, “He said, ‘Come on, man, I heard you liked me.’”
Last year Reade told a tamer story about the encounter joining seven other women who accused Biden of disturbing physical contacts like unwanted touching, kissing and even up-close-and-personal hair sniffing. Last month, during a podcast interview Reade gave a more detailed account of the alleged assault. She says she filed the police report after frightening attacks from Biden supporters.
Important note: many sex crimes victims expand on the initial description of their assault once they feel their statements are being accepted. This isn’t unusual.
When last we heard a similar decades-old allegation against a prominent Washington figure it resulted in House democrats* launching full-blown congressional hearings on the nomination of Republican Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
So where’s the #MeToo fueled congressional indignation this time? To date, there are zero House committee investigations or calls for the accused to immediately step down.
Let’s compare and contrast the two cases.
Kavanaugh, then in high school, was accused by Christine Blasey Ford of being drunk at a party, pinning her to a bed, groping her and pulling at her clothes. Kavanaugh firmly denied the charge.
Biden is accused of forcibly kissing and penetrating young Reade. The former Veep has remained oddly silent about the matter. Only Kate Bedingfield, another young Biden staff member, has offered comment saying, “This absolutely did not happen.”
Kavanaugh’s case came down to a she-said, he-said claim. Ford seemed sincere and offered up four witnesses from the party but each denied they were there. One friend flat out declared Ford’s story “just doesn’t make sense.”
Biden’s accuser, on the other hand, says she contemporaneously told her mother, brother and a close friend about the disturbing attack. Reade’s mother has died but the other two confirm they learned about the incident shortly after it was said to have happened. The brother told reporters, “My mom wanted her to go to the police.”
During the Kavanaugh hearings Ford had several credibility problems. She faltered on her “fear of flying” claim which delayed the hearings, yet she ultimately admitted to annual plane trips to far flung locales like French Polynesia. Her claim of installing a “second front door” in her home to counter her persistent post-Kavanaugh “panic attacks” proved untrue. The extra door was used by renters leasing a separate room in Ford’s home.
Look, under scrutiny Reade’s allegations against Biden might also uncover credibility problems. But I guess we’ll never know the truth. Reade gets no public hearing. This is blatant political hypocrisy.
Long ago the enlightened – especially those in the Democratic party – firmly embraced the #MeToo sensibility that brave women who came forward with a sex harassment or sexual assault allegation should be heard.
Interestingly, during the Kavanaugh hearings Joe Biden declared, “What should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be, you know, abused again by the system.” He spoke of treating women claiming sexual abuse “with respect.”
Well, then, shouldn’t Tara Reade expect the same treatment as Kavanaugh’s accuser? Of course she should, but I’d advise Reade not to hold her breath.
Some democrats are claiming Reade has a political motive. Makes no sense as she is a lifelong democrat who says she’d never vote republican. Let’s face it, it’s probably not the politics of accusers we should worry about. It’s the political games being played on Capitol Hill we need to recognize and condemn.
* Correction: The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were held in the U.S. Senate – not the House. It was Senate democrats who most vigorously condemned Kavanaugh. I regret this error.