• Bobbi K Dominick

Tara Reade From a Workplace Investigator Perspective: Prior Inconsistent Statements

As I continue my analysis of the types of evidence we investigators would look for, I want to say more about the importance of prior inconsistent statements. We have to be careful in assessing such statements, because the problem is not that the prior inconsistent statement proves the current statement is false. The problem is that we are then left to determine which statement is true, or whether both statements contain elements of truthfulness.

In this case, the prior statement most often cited is that Reade gave an interview to her local paper in April of 2019 about Biden's behavior. In it, she did not mention the sexual assault. And, according to the paper, she indicated that she did not feel she was a victim of sexualization, but rather his behavior in putting a hand on her shoulder and touching her neck made her feel like she was being treated like an inanimate object. Many have seized on the fact that Reade did not mention the sexual assault as an inconsistent statement, and made the assumption that this means her current report must be false.

That is certainly one possibility, that she has recently added the sexual assault to her narrative, and it may not have actually happened. But several factors would be considered by an investigator here to determine the veracity of her current allegations. First, is there anything to indicate that she had earlier talked about or reported the sexual assault? I discussed this in a previous post. Is there any reason why she would have left this assault out of a public report of Biden's behavior? What we find is that when a person is a victim of a sexual assault they will often leave out some of the most horrifying parts. This is a psychological response. So it could be this is what happened here, that Reade left that part out because of fear of what would happen to her if she revealed the assault. Or it could be that she fabricated the assault to "beef up" her allegations and get attention. The investigator's job would be to explore all avenues of this prior inconsistency to determine:

  1. Is it really an inconsistency? Can the two statements be reconciled?

  2. Is there any evidence of why Reade would have been reluctant to publicly report the assault? (ie, her psychological response to disclosing the assault). This might be difficult to discern, but I would certainly ask Reade why she did not disclose it, and gather whatever evidenced might be available to corroborate that reluctance.

  3. Is there any evidence of a motivation to currently fabricate a more serious allegation?

From what is publicly available about the prior inconsistent statement, there are questions that arise that cast doubt on the new allegation. First, apparently Reade was asked specific questions about how many times, and where, Biden touched her. The report indicates that she recalled "a handful of times" Biden touched her. She also indicated that she struggled to decide whether his actions were appropriate. She indicated that it was not sexual behavior. Those details make the current allegation of a direct sexual assault inconsistent, and cast doubt over whether this allegation is credible, given that Reade had an opportunity to disclose it, and instead described more ambiguous behavior and denied any sexualized behavior.

Again, this is not definitive, but it does seem to sway the credibility factors slightly in favor of doubt. More investigation would be needed to assess and draw conclusions.

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