Court documents from Tara Reade’s 1996 divorce proceedings indicate that she told her ex-husband about the alleged sexual harassment she faced while working for Joe Biden’s Senate office in the early 1990s.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on Thursday that it had obtained a 1996 declaration filed by Theodore Dronen, Reade’s ex-husband, contesting a restraining order she filed against him after he had begun divorce proceedings. Dronen’s filing was in response to claims Reade made about having been a victim of domestic violence and sexual harassment when initially seeking out the order.
At the time Dronen disputed a number of the statements Reade made about their relationship, according to the Tribune, claiming her “traumatic” experiences while working for Biden had colored her “perception and judgment.”
“At the early stages of our dating, [Reade] felt comfortable confiding in me as we both worked for members of Congress,” the declaration reads. “On several occasions [Reade] related a problem that she was having at work, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”
“It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on [Reade], and that she is still sensitive and effected [sic] by it today,” the declaration adds.
Reade, who worked for Biden’s congressional office between 1992 and 1993, had initially come forward last April to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching. At the time, Reade told a local California news outlet that she had filed a complaint noting the misconduct with the Senate’s personnel office when it purportedly occurred. Her story, however, changed in March, with Reade claiming that Biden had pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and digitally penetrated her sometime in 1993.
The purported assault, which Reade claims took place either in the U.S. Capitol or the Russell Senate Office Building in 1993, has been vehemently denied by the former vice president. The denial has been echoed by Biden allies, including onetime members of his Senate staff.
Some, like Ted Kaufman, who was Biden’s Senate chief of staff when the incident allegedly took place, denies that Reade ever mentioned sexual harassment.
“She did not come to me,” Kaufman said last month. “I would have remembered her if she had, and I don’t remember her at all.”
Dronen’s declaration, though, suggests otherwise, claiming that Reade told him that she had “struck a deal” with Biden’s then-chief of staff regarding the sexual harassment “problem” and “left her position.”
Although the court documents do not state that Biden committed the harassment in question, nor do they make any mention of the alleged assault, they provide the only written record from the past that substantiates part of Reade’s account.