The Secretary of the U.S. Senate said on Monday that it cannot comply with Joe Biden’s request to search for and release any records of a sexual assault complaint against him.
Tara Reade has claimed that Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked in his office in 1993, a claim that Biden denies. On Friday, Biden filed a written request to Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams to help find if Reade lodged a formal complaint about the incident. As NPR News reported, Reade said that she filed a complaint but did not explicitly mention the alleged sexual assault.
“I talked about the sexual harassment, I thought about the sexual assault, but I was afraid to write down details, just handing it to some clerk because I didn’t know where it was going to go,” Reade told NPR in an interview last month.
The secretary of the Senate’s office said that it has no discretion to disclose the information Biden requested, noting that these records are “strictly confidential.” Biden’s campaign responded with a series of follow-up questions, asking whether the records could be disclosed if the complainant requested them, or if they could confirm whether a complaint exists or not. The statement from the Senate secretary did not say whether or not there was a record to be released.
Reade had initially come forward last year with a series of other women who said that Biden made them feel uncomfortable with unwanted touching, but she said at the time that it was not of a sexual nature. This year, Reade said that Biden assaulted her in a secluded area of the U.S. Senate building, saying she was not ready last year to reveal that incident.
After initially denying the claim in a statement released through a campaign spokesperson, Biden broke his silence this week and unequivocally denied Reade’s allegation. Reade had been scheduled to speak out this weekend in an interview with Fox News but canceled the appearance on Saturday after reportedly receiving death threats and growing worried about putting her family in the spotlight.
Biden’s campaign this weekend also addressed a separate allegation that claimed he made a lewd remark to a 14-year-old girl at an event in 2008. The former vice president’s campaign responded with a series of documents showing that Biden never attended the event in question, as he was laid up for several days after having undergone sinus surgery.