Sexual assault accuser shocked Joe Biden put Chris Dodd on VP committee
WASHINGTON — A Massachusetts woman who accused former Senator Chris Dodd of sexually assaulting her after a booze-fueled dinner in 1985 is speaking out, saying she can’t understand why the Biden campaign tapped him to lead their vice presidential search.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, 77, was already embroiled in his own sexual assault controversy when the campaign last week announced Dodd, a former Democratic Connecticut senator with a past of misconduct charges, would co-chair his Vice Presidential Selection Committee.
In a lengthy phone conversation with The Post on Tuesday, Dodd’s accuser, Carla Gaviglio, now 59, said she was stunned that the Biden campaign chose the retired lawmaker, 75, when the incident between them had been in the media for decades.
“I have no idea if Biden has done this, I don’t think any of us do, but I certainly know what the senator’s done and I don’t know what they’re thinking, choosing someone like that,” she said, referring to the charges Biden assaulted former staffer Tara Reade in 1993.
“I think they should [have gone] a little deeper and thought about it. I don’t think it was a great idea and I think they could have done a little bit better. There’s so many people out there and why they had to make that choice is is a little confounding,” she continued.
Gaviglio was a waitress at the now-shuttered upscale Capitol Hill restaurant La Brasserie when Dodd and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D. Mass) allegedly groped her after a lengthy dinner in a private dining room in December 1985.
According to a GQ account of the night published in 1990, while the senator’s dates were in the bathroom, a “very drunk” Kennedy grabbed Gaviglio and threw her onto the table, sending plates, cutlery, glasses and candles flying.
Kennedy then picked up the terrified waitress, who was just 24 at the time, and put her on Dodd’s lap — Kennedy forcing himself on Gaviglio and rubbing his genitals on hers, the report said, the alleged assault becoming known by the cruel moniker “waitress sandwich.”
The account was confirmed to the magazine by another waitress, Betty Loh, and the La Brasserie’s late owner, Raymond Campet.
“Chris was always there,” Gaviglio told The Post. “He was a goofball, always asking for my phone number and things like that, but I don’t think he was expecting what happened that night. They were very, very drunk,” she said.
The scared waitress never saw Dodd again but was hounded by the media and allegedly threatened by one ex-Arkansas congressman who said if Gaviglio spoke out, the restaurant, which she described as “a very close family,” would be blacklisted by lawmakers, she said.
“Most of it was on Senator Kennedy, but God, would it have killed [Dodd] to say, ‘I’m so sorry about what happened last night, I really apologize’? That would have been nice. It certainly would have been appropriate.”
Gaviglio, who has since moved back to her native Massachusetts, said she was offered huge sums of money to tell her story but didn’t want to cause trouble, with Kennedy, a member of the powerful political dynasty, on the verge of announcing his presidential run.
“My brother was working at the State House in Massachusetts and nothing good was going to come of it,” she said. “I think I did the best I could to deal with it the way I could, but I felt, you know, remaining quiet was probably the best.”
Dodd and the Biden campaign did not respond to request for comment.
Gaviglio said she believed the #MeToo movement needed to treat everyone the same regardless of their political party and is still planning to vote for Biden, “if he remains intact.”
She said the women lobbying to become Biden’s running mate, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, had also been put in an impossibly tough position by both the charges against Biden and the decision to install Dodd.
“I mean there’s a million people he could have chosen to help them choose a female vice president. Why put the women in that position?” Gaviglio said when asked if she was disappointed that Biden had tapped Dodd.
“Some of these women deserve to be vice president. What position does that put them in when this is on the committee?” she asked.
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