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

    I bet it was Justin Bieber in the Staples Center bathroom stall when the incident happened...it wasn't Hermie...It was Justin....

    November 8, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Cedar Rapids

    "Terry,Va – Another Obummie supporter slopping out of the Federal government trough. What a surprise. First lawyer Alred , the most liberal ambulance chasing dumbocrap there is and her stooge and now this. Obummie is running scared. He will probably declare martial law and cancel the elections before it is over."

    what crap are you spouting now? a person that accused Cain of harassment 12 years ago is what now?

    November 8, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old PIgs are insane!

    "one lives in the same apartment building as Axelrod."

    So by your bizarre "logic" every single person in the country is now defined by the political leanings of their neighbors? Someone here is off the rails, and it's not the media.

    November 8, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. MeGusta

    Why do republicans always resort to name calling and finger pointing as soon as fact are presented?

    November 8, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Independent Woman

    There are wayyyyy to many complaints about Mr. Cain. This is NOT a liberal agenda blah blah blah, look at the facts people. This guy is no better than a used-car salesman. These women who are coming forward are REPUBLICANS lol it doens't get any better than that... after all Mr. Cain if you harassed women and you can't remember their name because you were more interested in other body parts, than as you would say, "it's your own fault"

    November 8, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs are Insane!

    "This is the democratic Party making all these allegations, because they fear one black man against another, and being unable to play the race card, which they do with regularity."

    Speaking of going off the rails, Rick, you really need to get a clue. First, you have no evidence to support you insane Fakes News manure. Second, logic (a foreign concept to you) strongly suggests it is the GOBP deathcult and not the Dems that are behind this. Think about it (again, probably asking too much from you), the Dems would LOVE to have Obama face off against Mr. KochCain. And that being the case, if they did have this info they'd save it for the general election. Get a clue, dude.

    November 8, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. a in austin

    No woman should be subjected to unwanted advances or harrassment of any kind by any man. For those of you stating otherwise, how would you like this to have happened to your mother, sister, or daughter. Just saying....

    November 8, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. lgny

    Trolls are jumping on the fact the she now works in a Federal office. Don't forget, this all happened in D.C. The Federal govt is by far the largest employer in that city. It's no surprise nor is it at all unusual.

    November 8, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. cali girl

    I certainly hope that all these women hold their head up HIGH!!! Too many are coming forward to ignore this any longer. Karine please make sure you don't slam these women for coming forward. It takes a lot of courage to tell their story.

    November 8, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. TucDem

    Insane Cain! Insane in the membrane! And I am not "brain washed"!

    November 8, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Lynn

    @Rick McDaniel; of course, registered Republicans might donate to the DNC. Just because one is a registered Republican doesn't mean you give up the right to critical thinking.
    @Karine; "opportunistic floozie?" really? she is by all accounts a hard-working civil servant who has done everything she could to stay out of the limelight while still bring the truth to the public.
    the fact is that these accusers' stories are consistent while the candidate has apparently lied and tried to cover up the truth. first, he didn't harass anyone; then, he didn't know about any settlement; then, he knew in 2003 and told his campaign staff; now he's saying he didn't even know accuser #4 when he apparently met her when they worked together and saw her recently at a Tea Party event.

    November 8, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Terry, Va, why would he bother with martial law when the GOP is doing such a fine job of imploding? You really have a reading comprehension problem, not to mention a reality comprehension problem.

    November 8, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Grady

    he was just using the fleshy part of the body to demonstrate how to knead pizza dough...what are they getting so upset about...it was a kearning experience...

    November 8, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. John

    Any relation to Josh Kraushaar at Politico and other Kraushaars?

    November 8, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Jack And Jill

    It would not surprise me if George Soros is behind this scam. One thing we know liberals are scared obama cannot win over the black vote from herman cain. He is a big threat, no doubt about that.

    November 8, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Mark

    Oh and let the dirty games begin. She lady was OUTED, she never asked to be part of this narrative from a case that dates back to the 90's and had nothing to with politics. I'm not a Dem but to me Cain is just a dog with fleas and undermines the entire GOP party. This whole dark cloud is going to throw off the debates and we're stuck listening to scandal garbage rather than issues (on the rare occasions they actually answer real questions).

    Don't bother blaming liberals, for now they can sit back and relax and watch Republicans tear each other up, its ALWAYS like that in primary season. And don't bother blaming media – keeping in mind it was the conservative Politico that broke the story. Blame Cain, he should have seen this coming. For a man that goes on incessantly about personal responsibility – maybe he should show some.

    November 8, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Woman In California

    What's done in darkness SHALL come to light.

    Cain is a low life and his accusers are going to let us know just how "low" he is.
    Blame yo'self Herman Cain.

    November 8, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. HorstThormann

    I believed Kathleen Willey in 1998 and I believe this woman now. Billy and Hermann should hang out together. They are both dirty old men. I wouldn't mind it so much, but Mr. Cain didn't even know the Chinese ALREADY possess nuclear weapons. He should have expected that this scandal would erupt and been better prepared. The fact that he was not so prepared indicates that he is unfit to be President of the United States.

    November 8, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. khepera420

    There is an incredible amount of anti-Dem, anti-Obama bull being thrown around in these comments. But the most hilarious and laughable of all was from the person who stated that the Dems fear one black man running against another. You're as deluded as your Republican masters who believe that they can split the African American vote by running the Cain clown. Not gonna happen in a million years sparky. You lot are embarrassingly ignorant. You likely believe that African Americans voted for Obama in large numbers because he's black. They voted for him because he is a DEMOCRAT. Only corporate tools and wannabes vote Republican among American black folks.Sheeesh! When will y'all learn?

    November 8, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. lisaspups

    Roman, you need to re-read the article. The statement was prepared by her and her attorney and was given on her behalf by the attorney, which is not a first person account. That said, there is nothing unusual about a person preparing a statement prior to a press conference. It helps to keep one's thoughts in order and does not indicate a lack of credibility.

    November 8, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. J Frey

    Wonder if it is possible to get the hotel records for way back when Ms Bialek say Cain paid for the upgrade. That would prove something. At least that he knew her. Why doesn't CNN get busy and search the records if they exist...

    November 8, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. Karine

    San ,
    I was referring to the woman who appeared on TV,

    November 8, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Roman

    Roman –

    Read the story again, it was the lawyer who said he wrote the statement with her, and it was the lawyer who read the statement a week ago since she did not want to be known.

    November 8, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Excuse_me

    Cancel the whole 2012 election. Make Obama the king of US. And call it a day.

    That is what libs want anyway. A dictatorship like Cuba. Since they have the best health care in the world.

    November 8, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Bill

    one problem here. This isnt new. Anyone remember Bill Clinton? Anyone?

    November 8, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7