Cain Accuser Claims Candidate Proposed Interlude For Job

Sharon Bialek details sexual harassment charges at presser with attorney Gloria Allred


A woman who used to work for the National Restaurant Association -- the same group once headed by Herman Cain -- accused the Republican presidential hopeful on Monday of an incident of sexual harassment during an alleged 1997 dinner during which she requested his help in finding a job.

Almost immediately, Cain's presidential campaign called all harassment allegations "completely false" 

Sharon Bialek, a stay-at-home mom from Chicago and former radio marketing professional, is the latest woman to come forth with allegations of inappropriate behavior by the 2012 presidential candidate.

Bialek, speaking in New York with famed discrimination attorney Gloria Allred by her side, said she had been laid off as the head of the educational foundation for the NRA when she called Cain for help getting another position.

Offering the first in-depth details of alleged uninvited behavior by Cain, Bialek said she traveled to Washington to meet the then-CEO, whom she said she had met a month earlier during a foundation event in Chicago.

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Bialek, who stayed at the Capitol Hilton, said she was surprised to find the hotel room her then-boyfriend booked had been upgraded to a "palatial suite," a change that she said Cain took credit in arranging.

Bialek alleged the two had drinks at the hotel bar before going to dinner. She said after the meal, Cain offered to show her the offices of the NRA but instead of getting out of the car, he put his hand up her skirt and tried to touch her genitals.

She said that Cain tried to pull her head toward his crotch before she scolded him. She alleges that he replied, "You want a job, right?" She said she told him to stop and return her to her hotel, which he did.

Bialek said she didn't complain to anyone at the time because she wasn't employed. She added that she has come forward because she learned that she's not the only one who has faced alleged inappropriate and aggressive behavior from Cain.

"I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean, just admit what you did, admit that you were inappropriate to people," Bialek said in a news conference. 

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 NRA in the 1990s after accusing Cain, who led the group at the time, of sexually inappropriate behavior while they were employed there.

His campaign instantly replied to the charge in a statement. 

"All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are false," it said.

Cain issued a statement later Monday that accused the media of being "obsessed with nonsense."

"I am a serious person, seeking the opportunity to do a serious and very important job," Cain said. "Unfortunately, the media-driven process by which one must seek this opportunity is fundamentally unserious."

He further stated that given his years of experience in corporate America, including turning around struggling corporations, "at some point during a career like this, someone will not like things you do, or how you do it. Someone will complain. ...

"So once the editors of Politico" -- which first broke the story -- "started looking for people who would make claims against me, their chances of finding a few takers were probably about 100 percent."

A third woman told The Associated Press last week that she considered filing a workplace complaint against Cain over what she deemed sexually suggestive remarks and gestures that included a private invitation to his corporate apartment. A former pollster for the restaurant association has said he witnessed yet another episode involving a another woman.

Allred said that Bialek informed two people at the time of the incident, her then-boyfriend and a mentor. Though she refused to hand them out, Allred flashed copies of what she said were declarations made by the two under penalty of perjury. Allred said Bialek has no plans to file a lawsuit or other claim.

As the new accuser surfaced, Cain was in California for what his campaign said were private events and an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" as he works to stem the fallout of the string of allegations.

Prior to Bialek's allegations, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon assailed Allred, calling her a major donor to Democrats who typically engages in self-promotion. 

Last week, Gordon predicted that Cain "could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues."

Federal Election Commission reports show that Allred gave $1,000 to Hillary Rodham Clinton and $2,300 to Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Cain has struggled to respond to the allegations, denying that he sexually harassed anyone but also changing his answers to other pertinent questions. He first denied knowing of any settlements with former employees, then said he recalled one, explaining he had been aware of an "agreement" but not a "settlement."

In recent days, some Republican rivals and party elders have pressed Cain to disclose all information about the allegations.

"Legitimate questions have been raised and that information has to come forward," former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said Sunday, adding that it is up to Cain to divulge the details.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said the best way for Cain to get back on message "is to get all the facts on the table."

Cain's campaign, for its part, has sought to project an image of business as usual. His campaign has suggested that he's benefiting politically from the furor, announcing Friday that donations since the controversy began totaled $1.6 million, described as a fourfold increase over the average take for an entire month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.