Herman Cain accuser identified
Karen Kraushaar is pictured in 2000.
November 8th, 2011
03:48 PM ET
3 years ago

Herman Cain accuser identified

Washington (CNN) - One of the women who claims she was sexually harassed while she worked at the National Restaurant Association while Herman Cain headed the organization stepped forward publicly Tuesday.

Karen Kraushaar confirmed she was the accuser in interviews with The Washington Post and New York Times after her name was first published in several media stories. The name was initially reported by online news source The Daily and then Kraushaar confirmed it to National Public Radio.

Kraushaar is a director of communications at a bureau within the Treasury Department.

"When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable," Kraushaar told the New York Times. "You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself into a job some place safe and that is what I thought I had achieved when I left."

She is one of two NRA employees who allege they were sexually harassed while they worked there in the 1990s during Cain's time as CEO,

Cain again Tuesday vehemently denied he ever committed sexual harassment.

Kraushaar, who worked at the association from 1998 to 1999, is a long-time civil servant and has held several communication jobs within the federal government.

Her attorney, Joel Bennett, denied Kraushaar had anything to do with the initial leaking of the story recounting the allegations.

"My client had nothing to do with releasing this story publicly," Bennett said on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Tuesday.

Kraushaar has not responded to requests for comment from CNN.

CNN contributor Maria Cardona, who hired Kraushaar at the Immigration and Naturalization Service after she the left the restaurant lobby, told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger Kraushaar's "stomach is in knots."

"This has been heart wrenching for her, and still is," Cardona said.

One reason Kraushaar has been reluctant to come forward publicly, she told Cardona, is that "she can't stomach forming the words to talk about what happened to her."

Kraushaar worked under Cardona at the INS and was sent to Miami to handle the media during coverage of the deportation of young Cuban immigrant Elian Gonzalez.

"Karen was the ideal employee," Cardona said. "In my opinion, her credibility is beyond reproach. She was the utmost professional, one of the hardest working individuals I have ever known … the consummate team player."

Kraushaar told the Post she is ready to speak publicly.

"I am interested in a joint press conference for all of the women where we would all be together with our attorneys and all of these allegations could be reviewed as a collective body of evidence," she said.

Bennett last week issued a statement that he and Kraushaar wrote discussing some of her allegation against Cain. Kraushaar, however, decided not to go public with her identity at that time because she wanted to maintain her privacy, Bennett told CNN.

"She and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter nor in discussing the matter any further publicly or privately. In fact, it would be extremely painful to do so," Bennett said on Friday at a news conference.

Bennett said at the news conference that he was retained in 1999. At the time he said he and his client filed a complaint "about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances" from Cain. He said his client wanted to rebut the denials issued by Cain but decided not to have the whole record of the incident released to the public.

Kraushaar is a registered Republican. Contribution records show she donated $250 to the Democratic National Committee in 2009.

– CNN's Kevin Bohn, Gloria Borger and Jim Acosta contributed to this story.


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Jane

    So long Herman. By the way, don't quit your day job! You're lucky if you still have that when this is over you pervert!

    November 8, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Name melanie willard

    What woman hasn't benn sexually harrassed in the work place?

    November 8, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. hope

    If herman cain get the GOP nod; It would be a gift to obama. Lol!

    November 8, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. scottbourne

    I can prove that Cain is a liar. If these allegations were false -he'd sue in a heartbeat. Come on – this is slander Hermie. If you are truly innocent wouldn't you want justice? The fact that no suit is coming is proof that Cain is guilty. Doesn't matter – he had ZERO chance of winning.

    November 8, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. rpaulwmson

    What a circus!!! The Republicans provide hilarious entertainment, here come the clowns!!! I hope Herman keeps denying everything for another week or so, until dozens of women get up the courage to tell everyone the truth, that Herman is a sexual predator mad with ego, testosterone and lust for power, and wants to be dictator-in-chief of the USA-too bad he is so ignorant and uneducated. He did not know China had nuclear weapons (since 1964, Herman-what planet have you been on for nearly 50 years!) or that Afghanistan is a country in Asia! Poor man cannot read, he is the only candidate I know dumber than Sarah Palin, . Proof that he is dumb-that he actually thought he coulld lie end deny his way out of his Iimmoral and illegal behavior in front of the National press! I really enjoyed the McCain/Palin show, this one is turning out to be even better-Cain the lecher, Romney the Saint (all Mormons believe they are Saints, and Romney believes he is the head Massachusetts Saint), Perry the drunk (on national TV no less!), Ron Paul the weed fiend, Bachmann the unhinged rightwing nut, and the Grinch, the sanctimonious adulterer from Georgis, wher they do it with their sisters -they could make a comedy reality show out of these characters but nobody would believe it.

    November 8, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  6. Jeb

    Cain is done selling bad policy. Back to selling bad pizza.

    November 8, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. Elmeaux

    So far, all he's been saying is "I don't remember." If he's that senile, he doesn't belong in the WH...oh...wait...oops...never mind. :O

    November 8, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. 100% ETH

    He said, "I didn't know that was a women Washroom". Funny Old Man. May be he forgot his reading glass.

    November 9, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. Gabriel Marc Beaven

    I don't mean to sound like a cruel heartless person here but I dont feel sorry for Herman Cain one bit. The reason why I say this because he seems to flip flop a lot. I was just reading an article that says that he would take a lie detector test and then a couple minutes later he backed down from doing that. I mean really. I just don't understand it. Just admit it and move on because I can guarantee now, nobody is going to listen to Mr. Cain. I think he just needs to say "You know what I screwed up and resign." We know that Presidential politics is a tough game, its not easy but when you have a man that is as dumb as he is saying things like "Oh I'll take a lie detector test and then goes back on his word. I do not want someone like that in the Office of the President of the United States. I am proud to be an American, but when a joke like this enters the race I am sorry I have to say something. Herman Cain you should just resign and leave it at that. The other fact that you have blocked people from your main page shows us your unwillingness to be open and honest. The fact that you keep flip flopping so much shows us your unwillingness to be truthful. The fact of the matter Mr. Cain you are not set for the Whitehouse you are only set for failure if you continue to deny these claims. Let me tell you why. Five women now have said something about this whether through their lawyers or publicly, and the weird thing you might ask. The stories match up! So you tell me Mr. Cain why on earth if these alleged accusers are lying why their stories match so well. It would of been better in the long run if you had admitted defeat and resign. I am sure not going to listen to you and I am sure now the American people are going to go with someone else. We do not want lies we do not want deception. We get that enough from Obama. So Mr. Cain tell the truth and resign because if you don't you are only setting yourself up to fail and to resign as a Presidential Contender.

    November 9, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  10. Kim

    Now, I am not a fan of Herman Cain, but I do question the timing of this. This man has been in the race for several months so why are these women speaking out now? Why did they choose to bring this to light as soon as Mr. Cain became the front runner? I smell a rat!!

    November 9, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  11. Meg

    Look, if you didn't care about Bill Clinton and his collection of women, then why care about this? I, for one, don't. I'm not a supporter of Herman Cain, but if he wins the nomination, then I will vote for him. The country cannot take four years more of the current excuse for a president in the Oval Office right now. And here I thought Jimmy Carter was a bad president.

    November 9, 2011 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  12. calvin

    show the proof. with in next 10 days the tv press will have many more come out. it game no for talk show the proof. not he said or he did story that are written down by lawyers to read on tv.

    November 9, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  13. Bentley76

    This woman has a lot of gumption for coming out and speaking out about what that arrogant ego-maniac is denying. Please, set the record straight for the clowns who support him.

    November 9, 2011 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  14. Uh Oh

    Jerry@Dallas, don't be concerned about Cain's fitness as Commander in Chief. It has already been vetted by physical evidence of Bill "Humidor" Clinton's activities that these are entirely separate issues and completely unrelated. He doesn't need to play a saxophone badly either!

    November 9, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  15. Raiderbeater

    Her son works for Politico and her lawyer knew about the Cain complaint and they didn't leak it to Politico?
    She's a registered Republican but donates to Democratic Convention?
    Regardless of the accusations.....how does those make sense?

    November 9, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
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