The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia has confirmed an “active, ongoing investigation” into the sex assault complaint against Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, while complainant Tara Reade says police have assigned her a “victim’s advocate” who is helping her with “safety planning.”
“This is an active, ongoing investigation, and there are no further details to provide at this time,” a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner Tuesday regarding Reade’s case.
Tara Reade, the former Biden Senate staffer who accused him of sexual assault, said the D.C. police department has assigned her a victim’s advocate who is “helping me mainly with safety planning.”
“Cases that are handled by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit go through a multi-review prior to being assigned a disposition. This case is progressing through the review process,” the Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson said.
The investigation remaining open, despite the alleged incident occurring past the statute of limitations, struck multiple experts as highly unusual.
WashingtonExaminer reports: Reade alleges that in 1993 when she worked as a staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office, he pushed her up against the wall and penetrated her with his fingers. Biden’s presidential campaign denies Reade’s allegations, although the former two-term vice president has yet to comment on the matter directly.
On April 9, Reade filed an incident report with the D.C. police that said she “disclosed that she was the victim of a sexual assault which was committed by Subject-2 in 1993.” Reade has confirmed that Subject-2 is Joe Biden, 77, who was a Delaware senator from 1973-2009 before becoming President Barack Obama’s vice president.
Reade, 56, said that she filed an incident report for “safety reasons,” for the purpose of establishing a paper trail in case “something happened to me” and to show that she is serious about her allegation since it is illegal to make a false police report.
Since coming forward with her allegations against Biden, she regularly receives threatening and vulgar messages, she told the Washington Examiner.
Because the incident is past the statute of limitations, she told the Washington Examiner that she expected the police to do no more than note her complaint and not investigate it. Reade told the Washington Examiner that she has no plans to sue Biden in civil court, where D.C. has removed the statute of limitations on sex crimes.
Reade said that she was assigned a victim’s advocate within the police department and connected to another one through an outside nonprofit group. “They’re helping me mainly with safety planning,” she said. The D.C. police did not confirm that Reade was assigned a victim’s advocate, although experts say such aid is standard for any individual who claims they were assaulted.
Former police officers who have worked in D.C., and sex crime experts, say there could be numerous reasons why the case has yet to be closed.
“Sometimes they receive information that is never going to lead to a criminal charge, but nonetheless, does invoke some of their obligations as public safety officials,” said Wendy Murphy, a professor of sexual violence law at New England Law Boston and a former sex crimes prosecutor.
“Is it usual or typical? I think the answer is no. But this is also not a usual, typical case,” Murphy said.
Among the reasons that the case remains open nearly two weeks after Reade made her report, Murphy said, could be that the officers have concerns about safety, or they could think that what Reade reported leads to other revelations.
“You don’t waste resources reviewing something that has no purpose,” Murphy said.
The decision by the D.C. police department struck several former police officers as peculiar, citing the fact that there is ultimately little law enforcement can do should they believe Reade’s allegations.
One former officer, who spent years on the force in Washington and spoke to the Washington Examiner on the condition of anonymity because he now works as a consultant for various police departments around the country, said the move struck him as out-of-the-ordinary.
“I wouldn’t expect a department to look into this for that long, maybe just take a report and close it out. It would also automatically be closed. They wouldn’t spend time investigating something they can’t prosecute,” the individual said.
“I’m sure the D.C. PD has plenty of work without creating it. Obviously, it’s a very high-profile case, so high-profile cases get a lot more attention, unfortunately, than if the victim or offender wasn’t a known public figure. In spite of that, I wouldn’t expect them to proceed on something that had no chance of getting prosecution.”
Robert Pusins, a former police officer in Florida who now serves as an expert witness in civil trials, said that he thinks the case is open because “it involves a high-profile person such as a former vice president.”
“It’s a balancing act, and either way, the police are gonna be caught in the middle and criticized for not investigating thoroughly or investigating thoroughly a 30-year-old claim,” Pusins said.
Reade told the Washington Examiner that she hopes this development encourages any other people who might have an allegation against Biden.
“There is a mechanism for them to remain anonymous by going to the D.C. metro police, or they can direct them to their law enforcement,” she said.
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