Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who has accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexual harassment and assault, is under scrutiny for misrepresenting her qualifications under oath when appearing as an expert witness in domestic violence cases.
Joe Biden Accusation
Tara Reade, 56, has accused 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually harassing and assaulting her while she worked in his office in 1993. Since first coming forward with her allegations, Reade’s recounting of the 1993 events has changed and numerous news publications have begun to investigate her allegations.
PBS NewsHour interviewed 74 former Biden staffers to get a “broader picture of his behavior toward women over the course of his career, how they see the new allegation, and whether there was evidence of a larger pattern.” None of the 74 people said that they had experienced sexual harassment, assault, or misconduct by Biden. All of those interviewed said that they had never heard any previous accusations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct.
In conducting its investigation, CNN interviewed Reade and learned more about her background. Reade told CNN that she had earned a bachelor of arts degree from Seattle, Washington-based Antioch University under a “protected program,” where the former president of the school ensured that her identity was protected while she was attending classes. Reade also claimed that she was a visiting professor at the university, on and off for a period of five years.
When CNN fact-checked Reade’s story, Karen Hamilton, an Antioch University spokesperson confirmed that Reade had “attended but did not graduate from Antioch University.” Hamilton also stated that Reade, “was never a faculty member. She did provide several hours of administrative work.” Antioch University also told CNN that it had never had a “protected program.”
Expert Witness on Domestic Violence
Misrepresenting her past is especially problematic, as Reade has previously served as an expert witness in domestic violence cases.
On December 12, 2018, Reade appeared as an expert witness in California state superior court in Salinas. The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office called Reade as an expert witness on the dynamics of domestic violence. As part of her qualifications, Reade listed a bachelor’s degree from Antioch University. Reade also listed a role as an “ongoing online visiting professor” at Antioch for five years.
According to Roland Soltesz, the lawyer of the woman who was charged for attempted murder in the case where Reade testified as an expert, Reade was “beloved” by local prosecutors. Patrick McKenna, executive director of a legal group that handles appeals for indigent defendants in the Salinas area, said that Reade had testified as an expert witness over 20 times.
At the time of the trial, Soltesz and another lawyer had challenged Reade’s credentials as an expert, arguing that Reade’s experience “was largely in advocacy work.” The trial court judge rejected the argument, ruling that Reade had the proper educational background and experience to testify as an expert. Cases in which Reade testified might now be reopened, given that the educational background that allegedly qualified Reade as an expert was falsified.