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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent pro-abortion Catholic politician is being accused of acting inappropriately toward women.
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is facing scrutiny related to his behavior around women and girls. Liberal activist Lucy Flores recently came forward claiming that Biden touched her shoulders, sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head at a rally in 2014. Biden came to the rally to drum up support for Flores' failed bid to be Nevada's lieutenant governor. At the time, Flores, a Democrat, was serving on the Nevada state assembly.
The alleged incident occurred as Flores was getting ready to go on stage at the rally. Flores says the physical contact came as a total shock.
She wrote in New York Magazine's The Cut, "I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. 'Why is the vice president of the United States touching me?'"
The former vice president proceeded to sniff her hair and kiss the top of her head.
Biden identifies as Catholic, but supports legalized abortion and same-sex "marriage." For instance, in 2016 he officiated a gay wedding.
Despite his open opposition to Catholic teaching, he has still been allowed to receive Holy Communion at Catholic liturgy.
Emphasizing how uncomfortable the encounter made her, Flores wrote, "Imagine you're at work and a male colleague who you have no personal relationship with approaches you from behind, smells your hair, and kisses you on the head. Now imagine it's the CEO of the company."
Biden and his staff have been scrambling to respond to Flores' statement. A spokesman for Biden said on Friday, "Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes."
A statement from Biden on Sunday did not address Flores' allegation specifically, but spoke broadly about how frequently Biden gives "expressions of affection" to people he encounters at political rallies and other events.
Sunday's statement read in part:
In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.
Last year, the former vice president was criticized by author Peter Schweizer, who drew attention to a shady $1.5 billion deal involving a Chinese company and the former vice president's second son, Hunter Biden.
Even before Flores came forward with her claim, some people have taken issue with Biden's behavior over the years around girls and women. Videos and photos online show Biden touching women's and girls' shoulders and hair, kissing them and whispering in their ears — fueling internet banter about "creepy uncle Joe."
"It's completely inappropriate," Flores said of Biden's behavior toward women.
"And that is something that we should consider," she added, "when we're talking about the background of a person who is considering running for president."
One of the women that Biden has been seen touching affectionately, Stephanie Carter, has come out saying that the 2015 photo of Biden holding her shoulders and whispering in her ears was misleading. She said Biden is a friend of hers and was saying something encouraging to her because she was nervous.
"The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend," Carter wrote in a blog post Sunday, "helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful."
After Flores came forward, even left-leaning outfits like Vox have put out articles critical of Biden for his history of invading girls' and women's personal space.
When Biden was vice president, much of this behavior was reported in the mainstream media, but with lighthearted headlines treating it as goofy antics.
A video clip from the Obama-Biden 2008 campaign trail, shared on Twitter by the Daily Caller, shows Biden touching a young woman's chin — seemingly as a remark on her physical appearance — as she flinches away awkwardly.
A December 2013 photograph shows Biden putting his hands on a woman's waist at a holiday party. At the time, USA Today paired that photo with the headline, "Photo of famously friendly Biden goes viral."
A video from January 2015 shows Biden leaning in, touching a little girl's shoulder and whispering in her ear as she jerks away from him.