November 7th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Cain accuser says candidate groped her in 1997

(CNN) - A woman who claimed Herman Cain sexually assaulted her in 1997 said Monday she hoped the Republican presidential candidate would come clean about other allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sharon Bialek said Cain reached under her skirt and pressed her head toward his crotch when Bialek was visiting Cain in Washington to get job hunting advice after she had been "terminated" from the National Restaurant Association.

MORE: Cain faces new claim of sexual misconduct

Bialek said that when she protested, Cain asked, "You want a job, right?"

Bialek worked at the educational foundation of the National Restaurant Association beginning from 1996 to 1997, when she said her superiors released her from her position, citing poor fundraising numbers.

Bialek said she was already acquainted with Cain after meeting him at NRA conferences, and visited him in Washington in July 1997 to see if he could help her regain her position or find another position within the organization.

When Bialek and Cain were returning from dinner, Bialek said Cain made inappropriate advances in a parked car.

"He put his hand on my leg, under my skirt, and reached for my genitals," Bialek said. "He also grabbed my head and pushed it toward his crotch."

Cain's campaign denied Bialek's allegations in a statement before the press conference began.

"Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain," the statement read.

"All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain's bold "9-9-9 Plan", clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks."

Cain is entering his second week of battling reports he sexually harassed women while heading the NRA in the 1990s. Last week, the lawyer for one woman who reportedly settled with the association over harassment allegations said his client would not reveal her name or any details about her claim.

Various media outlets reported there were two more women who made allegations against Cain and subsequently received financial settlements.

Cain said Saturday he was finished answering questions about the sexual harassment claims, telling reporters in Texas he was focused on getting his campaign "on message."

"Read all of the other accounts, where everything has been answered - end of story," Cain said.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. one voice

    Cains thought: If Cheney said deficits don't matter, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

    November 7, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Bill

    End of story, Hermie? I do not think so. Predatory behavior is simply unacceptable. I can give 999 reasons why. It's over – go sell some pizzas.

    November 7, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. RSG

    I wonder how many times he used that "maneuver" on these women.

    November 7, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Dee

    Keep singing, Herman, and "dancing" around the accusations!!

    November 7, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. DJD

    I wonder if the woman (women) who signed a confidentiality agreement have agreed to give the money back?

    November 7, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Keith, US Citizen living in Canada

    Citizen Cain... COME CLEAN

    November 7, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. RINO Bil

    So, has anyone verified with the Capital Hilton if Ms. Bialek's room was upgraded by Herman Cain or anyone from his staff, or that of the National Restaurant Association? If so, maybe his -9-9-9 plan actually started out as a 6-9 plan.

    November 7, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Lost in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    Ok now I wonder if the far right wingers are going to bring the "race card" up NOW?? This is going to be interesting now that the accuser has a face and it's NOT one that looks like an Anita Hill.

    November 7, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Lillie

    Stick a pin in him and let the deflating begin.....its over!!!!!!

    November 7, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    Dawn Sweeney the current head of the restaurant national group has released the women from the "settlement" confidentiality rules. She also stated Cain was charged and the women were paid NOT to pursue the claims in court.

    November 7, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Sheila

    I wonder who paid this woman. Why is she so happy? Why did she wait so long? Why didn't

    she speak up years ago? Check the camera's at the hotels. Can anyone provide contract evidence

    that they were ever together in a private setting? Why didn't she fight him in the car rather than

    ask him to drive her back to her hotel? And the unanswered questions go on, and on , and on.

    November 7, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess Herman misunderstood the meaning of the biblical phrase "laying on of hands".

    November 7, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Jake

    these are very serious allegations, sorry Herman, this is NOT the "end of story." where's Kenneth Starr??

    November 7, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. willard

    I'm like looking her that she is like act with her boyfriend about pimip

    November 7, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sharon Bialek said Cain reached under her skirt and pressed her head toward his crotch
    OUCH and YUCK!!!
    I just threw up in my mouth!
    How the heck am I supposed to get rid of THAT mental image?
    Reverend Cain tsk, tsk, tsk.
    I'm thinking about suing the old lech myself just for making my stomach turn.
    I'd like to see the Singing Clown sing his way out of this one....

    November 7, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. United We Stood

    Well well well, looks like we finally have a use for Four and the Door. Here's woman #4, there's the door Herb.
    The Godfather of harrassment.
    Should've listened to Yogi, Herb - it ain't over til it's over.

    November 7, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. A Repulbican

    Truth always comes out when you run for president!

    November 7, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Dixie

    It's over, Herman. Blustering and ego have carried you as far as you can go.

    November 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Blaqmajik

    He is about to be reminded how racist this country is. The fact that this is a white woman will not go will the GOP/Teaparty/Kock Bro.....LOL

    November 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Tes Stone

    Dear DJD and others- I've already asked this of my retired Probate Court Judge hubby, since I thought it a good idea. Answer: depends on the original agreement. It doesn't necessarily mean that if the claimants return their $45,000 settlement, they can go public and sell their stories to the National Inquirer for $100,000. Sorry

    November 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    Personally, I BELIEVE her. He is a bully and a self serving freak. I hope she forces him to confront her. My guess is he will dodge her completely.

    November 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Lee

    So this is what they mean when they say, "Let Herman be Herman"?

    November 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. ndp

    Sounds like a media witch hunt.

    November 7, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. SaintM

    Something must have happened, otherwise, these women would not have come forward. No matter the reason they stayed silent so long–it's important that this issue gets attention.

    These same accusations gave Bill Clinton many headaches when he was running for president. The difference is that Herman Cain has no sense of decorum, has a foul mouth and says whatever he wants with no regard to who he offends. He completely lacks charisma and has zero oratorical skills. Those qualities saved Bill Clinton's campaign. Herman, however, will have no such luck.

    November 7, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Dale

    I wonder if she has a dirty record what has she been up to during the 10 years this supposedly happened.

    November 7, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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