Former Vice-President Joe Biden has denied an allegation that he sexually assaulted a former aide nearly 30 years back as a US senator.
Tara Reade, who worked briefly as a staff assistant in Mr Biden’s office, has said that her former boss forced her against a wall, putting his hands under her shirt and skirt.
“This totally didn’t happen,” Mr Biden’s campaign said this week.
Mr Biden, 77, is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
“He firmly believes that girls have the right to be heard – and heard respectfully,” said his campaign spokeswoman. “Such claims must also be reviewed by an independent media. What is clear about this particular claim: It’s untrue.”
Ms Reade, 56, described the allegation in an interview with podcast sponsor Katie Halper in March.
She was asked to send a gym bag into the senator at the spring of 1993, she said, and found herself alone with Mr Biden.
“There was no trade, really, he only had me up against the walls,” she said to Ms Halper.
“I recall it happened all at once… his hands were on me underneath my clothes.” He then penetrated her she explained.
“I recall him saying, first, as he had been doing it’Do you want to go someplace else?’ And then him saying to me, once I retreated… he said’Come on guy, I noticed you liked me,'” she explained. “That phrase stayed with me.”
The reality that he was a champion of women’s rights in her eyes made the experience all the more shattering, she said.
Ms Reade filed a criminal complaint on 9 April by authorities, saying she was a victim of sexual assault but didn’t mention Mr Biden. She said in a tweet that she registered the whined”for safety reasons only”, as the statute of limitations for her claim have died.
Ms Reade was one of eight girls who came forward last year to accuse the offender of inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing, though none described his actions as sexual assault at the moment.
In response, Mr Biden vowed to be”more mindful” in his interactions.