- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A former neighbor and friend of Tara Reade, the ex-Senate staffer who recently accused Joseph R. Biden of sexually assaulting her in the early 1990s, has come forward to corroborate parts of Ms. Reade’s story, saying they talked at length about the alleged attack at the time.

In March, Ms. Reade accused Mr. Biden of pinning her against a wall and penetrating her with his fingers without her consent in his Senate office in 1993. Since then, Ms. Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, and a friend who asked to remain anonymous, have corroborated parts of Ms. Reade’s story. An anonymous call Ms. Reade’s mother made to a 1993 broadcast of CNN’s “Larry King Live” has also resurfaced, in which her mother claimed that she had run into unspecified “problems” with a U.S. senator.

The Biden camp denied the allegations earlier this month.

“Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” Kate Bedingfield, Mr. Biden’s communications director, said in a statement. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”

Now, a woman who lived next to Ms. Reade during the time of the alleged incident is speaking out, saying she specifically remembers Ms. Reade confiding in her about the ordeal.

Lynda LaCasse, who lived next to Ms. Reade in an apartment complex near the beach in Morro Bay, California, is the first person to independently corroborate, in detail and on the record, that Ms. Reade had told others about her assault allegations contemporaneously, Business Insider reported.

“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Ms. LaCasse told Insider.

“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” she continued. “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,” she said. “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.”

Ms. LaCasse said she decided to speak up because of the scrutiny Ms. Reade is facing now that Mr. Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Ms. LaCasse said that while she believes Ms. Reade is telling the truth, she still considers herself a “very strong Democrat” and will cast a vote for Mr. Biden in November.

“I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat,” Ms. LaCasse said. “And I’m for Biden, regardless. But still I have to come out and say this.”

Another woman, Lorraine Sanchez, who worked with Ms. Reade in the office of a California state senator in the mid-‘90s, told Insider that she recalled Ms. Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired after raising concerns.

“[Ms. Reade said] she had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in D.C., and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired,” Ms. Sanchez said.

Earlier this month, Ms. Reade filed a report with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department detailing the alleged incident, even though the statute of limitations had passed. On Saturday, the department told Insider that the case had been “moved to an inactive status.”

“I’d like to be heard in a fair and objective way,” Ms. Reade told the outlet. “And I’d also like to hear Joe Biden’s response, which has not happened. My hope is that the conversation will move forward and we will examine how I was treated when I came forward, and really look at the fact that, like domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment is not a partisan issue. It is an equal-opportunity offender.”

Mr. Biden has not personally addressed Ms. Reade’s allegation. His campaign referred Insider to the old statement when reached about Ms. LaCasse’s and Ms. Sanchez’s comments.

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