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Tara Reade admits omitting ‘sexual assault’ from early reports against Joe Biden

Mr Biden’s former staffer says she initially “chickened out” of filing full harassment or assault allegations

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Tara Reade, seen here in April last year, has made sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden (Donald Thompson/AP)

Tara Reade, seen here in April last year, has made sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden (Donald Thompson/AP)

Tara Reade, seen here in April last year, has made sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden (Donald Thompson/AP)

Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office that did not explicitly accuse him of sexual assault or harassment.

I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,” Ms Reade said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.”

Ms Reade said she described her issues with Mr Biden but “the main word I used — and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used ‘uncomfortable’. And I remember ‘retaliation’.”

Ms Reade described the report after the AP discovered additional transcripts and notes from its interviews with her last year in which she says she “chickened out” after going to the Senate personnel office.

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (Matt Rourke/AP)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (Matt Rourke/AP)

AP/PA Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (Matt Rourke/AP)

The AP interviewed Ms Reade in 2019 after she accused Mr Biden of uncomfortable and inappropriate touching.

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She did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Mr Biden until this year, around the time he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

The existence of the Senate report has become a key element of the accusations against Mr Biden, which he has flatly denied.

Ms Reade says she does not have a copy of the report, and Mr Biden said on Friday he was not aware any complaint against him existed. He asked the Senate and the National Archives to search their records to try to locate a complaint from Ms Reade.

They have this counselling office or something, and I think I walked in there once, but then I chickened outTara Read in 2019

But Ms Reade is suggesting that even if the report surfaces, it would not corroborate her assault allegations because she chose not to detail them at the time.

According to a transcript of her 2019 interview with the AP, Ms Reade said: “They have this counselling office or something, and I think I walked in there once, but then I chickened out.”

She made a similar statement in a second interview with AP that same day, according to written notes from the interview.

On Friday, Ms Reade said she was referring to having “chickened out” by not filing full harassment or assault allegations against Mr Biden.

In multiple interviews with the AP on Friday, Ms Reade insisted she filed an “intake form” at the Senate personnel office, which included her contact information, the office she worked for and some broad details of her issues with Mr Biden.

On Saturday, Ms Reade told the AP there may have been a box to check on the form noting a sexual harassment complaint, but she could not remember and would not know for certain until she saw the form.

Ms Reade also said she cancelled a planned television interview with the programme Fox News Sunday because of security concerns.

Ms Reade was one of eight women who came forward last year with allegations that Mr Biden made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate displays of affection.

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Ms Reade has recently made more detailed allegations that Mr Biden sexually assaulted her (Donald Thompson/AP)

Ms Reade has recently made more detailed allegations that Mr Biden sexually assaulted her (Donald Thompson/AP)

AP/PA Images

Ms Reade has recently made more detailed allegations that Mr Biden sexually assaulted her (Donald Thompson/AP)

Mr Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future”.

During one of the April 2019 interviews with the AP, she said Mr Biden rubbed her shoulders and neck and played with her hair. She said she was asked by an aide in Mr Biden’s Senate office to dress more conservatively and told “don’t be so sexy”.

She said of Mr Biden: “I wasn’t scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn’t that kind of vibe.”

In recent weeks, however, Ms Reade told the AP and other news organisations that Mr Biden sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a wall in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in 1993, groping her and penetrating her with his fingers.

She says she was fired from Mr Biden’s office after filing a complaint with the Senate alleging harassment.

The accusation has rocked Mr Biden’s presidential campaign, sparking anxiety among Democrats.

Republicans have accused Biden backers of hypocrisy, saying they have been quick to believe women who have accused President Donald Trump and other conservatives of assault. Mr Trump has faced multiple accusations of assault and harassment, all of which he denies.

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