A woman named Sharon Bialek, flanked by attorney Gloria Allred, said at a news conference Monday that the presidential candidate reached under her skirt and tried to push her head toward his crotch in a parked car in 1997. Bialek is a former staffer of the National Restaurant Association who says she was seeking to regain her job.
The Cain campaign immediately issued a statement declaring that “Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone” and dismissing what it called “bogus attacks.”
Bialek said she told two other people, one of them her boyfriend at the time, about the alleged groping, so corroborating witnesses could emerge.
According to Bialek, the two were having dinner when Cain informed her that he had upgraded her hotel room to what she described as a “palatial suite.” When she mentioned her boyfriend and said she wanted “my job back,” Cain said he would “look into that,” Bialik said.
While driving back from dinner, Cain said he would show her the restaurant association’s offices and parked down the block. Then, according to Bialek, he slid his hand “under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.”
When she protested, mentioning her boyfriend, Bialek says Cain replied: “You want a job, right?”
But then, she added, “I asked him to stop, and he did.” Bialek said she never filed any kind of complaint but wants the former pizza executive to acknowledge what he did: “Mr. Cain, I implore you — make this right.”
Cain has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has called the accusations a “smear campaign” in the week since the disclosure that two women reportedly received financial settlements from the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s after accusing Cain, who led the group at the time, of sexually inappropriate behavior while they were employed there.
Allegations that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain sexually harassed women in the 1990s have begun to damage his bid for the White House, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found. The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago.