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. Reggie from LA

    @Voice of Reason, you could have given us at least 10 seconds rest from hateful trolls. 5 seconds and it was on. What the heck does Obama have to do with this? He knows he ain't going to face Cain in a general election. How do we know this? How much money has Cain been able to collect (despite all the straw poll love). All they are doing is buoying his campaign to show how diverse they are and I'm sure they're really lovin' him now, considering his accusers. Oh yeah, TP is loving that alright. Oh Yeah! Like his Rush Hour bruthas from muthas. Oh Yeah!! I can feel the love.

    November 8, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. blake

    Hires a lawyer who won't affirm he is her lawyer. Registers as a Republican but gives to the National Democratic Committee. Hmmm. Does this sound like a woman who pretends to be something she is not? Another pawn of the Democratic party seeking to discredit a GOP candidate that they view as a threat. Is there nothing Obama will not do to get re-elected.

    November 8, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. Kent Bailey, Rochester, MN

    TiAmo 'One chick told Cain "What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend." What's that supposed to mean, that if she didn't have a boyfriend his advances would have been alright? I think this is that womans Mitt Moment (I can't have illegals working for me. I'm running for office)'.

    Good point, TiAmo. Perhaps she knew it was wrong, but she was pretty sure he didn't, so she tried using a reason she thought he might be able to understand?

    November 8, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. otermbachmann

    You go girl, hang in there. He's scum, plus Faux News has his back. Just hang in there.

    November 8, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. CCCDaughter

    This is typical of the Republican Party. They want to control the rights of a woman, but do not think about getting a woman pregnant, as they are "hitting" on her.

    November 8, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    "she can't stomach forming the words to talk about what happened to her."

    Then she should have said nothing at all. If she's not prepared to defend her accusations in court, it's just slander and Cain has every right to take her to court.

    November 8, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. independent

    There seems to a pattern evolving here. It appears that Herman likes attractive blond white women.

    November 8, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. colin

    Fork, meet Mr. Cain. Mr. Cain, meet fork. You're done.

    November 8, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. otermbachmann

    Faux News girls better get ready, he'll be working there soon.

    November 8, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Froderick

    What is favoring Karen Kraushaar in this situation is she lodged her complaint at a time when Cain had no publicly known aspirations of running for President of the USA. Karen Kraushaar is a professional and has a very clean history. This is not a women who has a checkered past of making these kind of allegations. This really hurts Cain. There are several women that have come forward. But this one hurts Cain. .

    November 8, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Tom

    Nice of you not to mention that this woman received 1 YEAR'S WORTH OF INCOME in an agreement.

    If there was nothing wrong, why the settlement from the NRA?

    1 YEAR!

    Nice of you guys to omit that from your *reporting*.

    November 8, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Antonio666

    Seems as if the Hermanator is really into blonds. Go figure. Wonder how many more are lurking out there with stories to tell.

    November 8, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Thewwie

    Aha! "She works for the federal government". Like that makes her claims suspect. Come on folks, this was in Washington DC. The capitol. What are the odds. Looks like its Mitt righties. Chortle!

    November 8, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Chris B

    Voice of Reason
    Let the trolls start spouting about how she's an Obama plant, bent on helping to usher in a new era of veggie-eating, hippie-singing, Wall-street occupying, commie-wannabe-socialistic-sharia-law-loving-leftism... Regardless of the facts.

    In 5...4...3...2...1...

    It took less than one minute! Hahahahaha

    November 8, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Joe

    He said, she said or they said, the all thing seems to be politics as usual. The question is why now?

    November 8, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. dreucalypt

    Now the Republicans will try to do to these women what they did to Anita Hill. The Republicans really have no shame.

    November 8, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. rosie

    one question, why is it that she never came forward before Cain decided to run for President?

    November 8, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. gt

    this guy sure likes white blondes

    November 8, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. Sunnyside18

    I love how they are coming out of the woodwork. Gloria Alfred was standing so close to the one girl so she could be shown on TV. I would like to see the women take lie detector tests and so should Heman Cain. Then I will know the truth. I will believe nothing until then because the media loves this kind of stuff.

    November 8, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. mb

    These don't sound like sexual harrasment. These sound like sexual assaults. The FBI needs to get involved. This Cain character sounds like a serial sexual predator. He uses his power to prey on women. Also from looking at the women he looks like he preys on white-blonde women. This guy needs to go to be in jail. Cannot have a sexual predator as president of the United States of America.

    November 8, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. john Shipp

    I will bet anyone a dollar that all of Cain's victims are white women.

    November 8, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Concerned

    I worry that nobody notices his real shortcomings – like not knowing that China has nuclear weapons, and has had since the 1960s...he's another Sarah Palin, spouting cheerleader rhetoric to "energize the base."

    November 8, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. citizen

    There are 3 sides to every story. his side, her side, and the truth!

    November 8, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. o8sys

    Some will be voting for Cain in droves over this. They did for Clinton, Gore, John Edwards, and John Kennedy. Gore however, beat the rap, just as Cain has beat this one. We need an INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE to turn this country around. Schwarzkopf !!!!

    November 8, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. Mike Buck

    The RepubliCONS have quickly forgotten that Cain's aide on his last failed campaign witnessed his behavior but like everything else the RepubliCons blame Obama.

    November 8, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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