WASHINGTON and NEW YORK — A new accuser came forward
Monday to claim that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of groping
her in a car 14 years ago while Cain was the head of a Washington trade
The allegations are the most explicit to
have been made public, and marks the first time one of Cain’s accusers
has identified herself.
At a news conference in
New York, Sharon Bialek, a former employee of the National Restaurant
Association, said she had sought Cain’s help in finding a new job after
the association had fired her. Instead, Bialek said, Cain, while the two
were seated in a parked car, reached under her skirt and also attempted
to move her head toward his crotch.
The Cain campaign immediately responded, according to CNN, calling Bialek’s accusation “false” but did not provide specifics.
woman is, apparently, the fourth to accuse Cain of sexually
inappropriate conduct during the time Cain was president and chief
executive officer of the association in the late 1990s. She said she did
not file a complaint after the incident in July 1997 because she was no
longer working for the trade group.
Two of the
women reached settlements with the association, agreeing to keep quiet
as part of the deal. A third told the Associated Press that she
considered filing a complaint, but did not.
and her high-profile attorney, Gloria Allred, said Bialek worked for
the association in 1996 and 1997 in Chicago and had met Cain during the
association’s convention in that city. She had been impressed with Cain,
she said, and once her employment was terminated by the group, she went
to Washington to seek his help in finding a job.
she said, upgraded her hotel room to a suite, took her out to dinner,
and later, while the two were in a car, made an unwanted sexual advance
that she rejected. She said she asked him what he was doing, and that he
replied, “You want a job, don’t you?”
“I was very, very surprised and very shocked,” Bialek said.
news conference took place in a packed room in New York’s storied
Friar’s Club, the same site where Allred earlier this year held a
similar event on behalf of a woman who was caught up in the scandal that
brought down New York Rep. Anthony Weiner.
The statute of limitations on any lawsuit has likely expired, meaning that Allred can’t file an action on Bialek’s behalf.
said she was coming public now “to give a face and a voice to those
women who cannot or for whatever reason do not wish to come forward and
on behalf of all women who are sexually harassed in the workforce but do
not come forward out of fear of retaliation and public humiliation.”
She implored Cain to “make this right so that you and the country can move forward and focus on the real issues.”
called Bialek a “registered Republican,” and Bialek said she approached
Cain at a tea party event a month ago, but said Cain did not
acknowledge than anything inappropriate occurred between them.
%uFFFD2011 the Los Angeles Times
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