US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has denied sexually assaulting a former Senate aide in 1993 – his first public remarks on the subject after he faced intense pressure to address the allegation.
“I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago,” the former vice-president said in an emailed statement on Friday.
“They aren’t true. This never happened.”
He said women should be listened to on allegations of abuse but “their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny”.
The statement noted Biden’s former top aides during his time in the Senate in 1993, when Tara Reade alleges the incident took place, deny ever knowing about it.
Reade says she had complained to them at the time.
Biden’s statement also noted that news organisations have dug into Reade’s allegations and have not found any former staffers “who corroborated her allegations in any way”.
Biden later said in an interview on MSNBC when asked if he assaulted his aide: “No, It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, ever happened.”
There have been growing calls for Biden to address the allegations.
While the former staffer first publicly raised her issues last year, her story has somewhat shifted and become a more severe charge.
Biden’s statement noted in detail his legislative record on women’s rights.
The issue has become a political football, not only because Biden is now the presumptive nominee against President Donald Trump but also due to the way top Democrats handled previous allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, a Supreme Court justice, when he was nominated for the job.
Reade is among a number of women who have complained Biden kissed or touched them inappropriately but her complaint of direct sexual assault stands out.