Herman Cain Publicly Accused of Unwanted Sexual Advances

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sharon Bialek, a former colleague of Herman Cain's, alleges he made unwanted sexual advances towards her in 1997. She stands behind her attorney Gloria Allred at a New York City press conference. (Anna Sale/WNYC)

Another woman colleague has accused Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of making unwanted sexual advances. Sharon Bialek is the first to publicly come forward and describe an incident in detail.

Bialek worked for the National Restaurant Association's education foundation in Chicago during parts of 1996 and 1997. When she was let go after less than a year, she reached out to then-Association president Herman Cain for help finding a new job.

Bialek, who read from a prepared statement, said the two met for dinner in Washington. In the car afterward, Bialek said Cain reached up her skirt and pulled her head toward his lap.

"I was surprised and shocked and I said, 'What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This is not what I came here for,'" Bialek said she told Cain, who she said responded by saying, "You want a job, right?"

Bialek said did not file a complaint at the time because she no longer worked at the the association's education foundation.

"I am coming forward now to give a face and a voice to those women who cannot or do not wish to come forward, and on behalf of all women in the workplace who are sexually harassed but do not come forward out of fear of retaliation and public humiliation," said Bialek.

Bialek said she was moved to come forward when she heard of other allegations. She does not plan to file a lawsuit and only wants Cain to acknowledge his past behavior. 

"I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean. Just admit what you did. Admit you were inappropriate to people," Bialek said, standing alongside celebrity attorney Gloria Allred at a packed press conference at the Friar's Club in New York.

At least three other women have accused Cain of sexual harassment, two of whom filed sexual harassment with the National Restaurant Association. They have not been publicly identified. 

The Cain campaign immediately released a statement denying Bialek’s account and questioned her credibility. “All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false,” it read. “Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone.”

In a separate statement, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon called Bialek "a woman with a long history of financial difficulties." When Allred was asked about Bialek's current employment situation on Monday, she described her as a "full-time single mom."

With no legal process pending, it will be up to voters to decide who they believe is telling the truth. Cain is scheduled to address the accusations Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix. In a series of interviews on morning talk shows on Tuesday, Bialek defended her motives, saying she had "nothing to gain" by coming forward.

"It's not about me. I'm not running for president," Bialek said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Comments [7]

Nick from An Outhouse in Minnesota

Amy from PA, you are dead on, and it is truly scary. The more people talk about Herm trying to get an inside the park homerun in his Lincoln Towncar, the less people are talking about how much of an incompetent, grizzly, improper, polished turd he is.
I can reiterate pretty much every candidate's position except his, because he just yaps about nothing! If I had to choose between Rick Santorum and Herman Cain to be president, I would choose neither. Instead, I would fold a frisbee in half and eat it, killing myself; emancipating myself from what would inevitably be the most horrendous display of stupidity ever known to humanity (including cavemen).

It also takes away from all the dumb crap that Michelle Bachmann keeps saying. For example, "Obamacare is keeping this country in a recession." I want to vote for her. I want to vote her to be Head of all Minnesota Outhouses. She would be perfect. Could you imagine if Herman Cain was President and Michelle Bachmann was vice President?? Oh my god I would join Al Qaeda!

Nov. 08 2011 08:34 PM
Sarah from New York City

I just watched Rachel Maddow's report on how she believes Hermain Cain is performance art and I'm starting to be a believer. I would love to see NPR do a story on this.

Nov. 08 2011 02:45 PM
Amy from PA

I support President Obama, and am not a fan of Mr. Cain's policies - but I'm also not a fan of Gloria Allred, and her involvement does not lend crediblity to Ms. Bialek. The sad thing is, that whenever these issues are used for political purposes (which may be the case here) legitimate complaints from people who have truly been victims of sexual harrassment are called into question, and for that reason, I have little respect for Ms. Bialek's approach. At the end of the day, this may work in Mr. Cain's favor.

Nov. 08 2011 10:37 AM

I wonder if some of the people donating to Cain are not actually rallying around him because they want him elected, but because they think he'd be an easier win for Obama.

Nov. 08 2011 10:18 AM

I agree with Jack Johnson. She never filed a complaint with her employer or anyone else. Now, 14 years later, she comes forward with Gloria Allred to make these charges. I dislike Herman Cain, but this just seems too opportunistic. For those like Louis Nardozi who condemn him, did you condemn Bill Clinton or did you call his accusers "trailer trash"?

Nov. 08 2011 10:15 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I would take the newest allegation with a grain of salt - a big grain of salt. Ms. Bialek's description can't be substantiated and I would not - and no jury would be able to convict on this testimony alone. She may be telling the truth. She may be lying. Impossible to know at this point.

Nov. 08 2011 07:29 AM
Louis Nardozi from Pensacola

Herman Cain has demonstrated a pattern of serial abuse and a complete and utter lack of remorse. You can just see it shine through when he blames poor people for not having a job, or says the FED doesn't need to be investigated. Further, he becomes enraged if pressed, which is REALLY not presidential behavior. It's going to get a WHOLE lot worse if he ever manages to get the nomination. Dems don't really care about him now, but rest assured they would have a whole strategy based on these allegations and hounding his wife. Sorry - he's fatally flawed now (like he wasn't before based on his FED involvement). A vote for Cain is a vote for Obama, plain and simple. Let's pick some one with a little less baggage.

Nov. 07 2011 08:37 PM

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