Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegations

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden is denying a former staffer’s allegation of sexual assault, saying the accusation is not true.

“This never happened,” Biden said in a statement Friday, posted on the website Medium.

It’s Biden’s first public comment on an accusation of sexual assault by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade.

“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny,” Biden said in the statement.

“She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They — both men and a woman — have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one — not one — who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way — as indeed I would not have.”

Biden is asking the Secretary of the Senate to look in the National Archives to see if Reade ever submitted a formal complaint.

“There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be — the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices,” Biden said in the statement. “If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.”

A number of former Biden staffers have defended him.

Biden himself had yet to weigh in on the accusation until now, even as it’s taken on fresh attention this week after two of Reade’s associates said she previously told them about elements of her allegations.