Her name is Sharon Bialek, and in a DC press conference today, she accused Herman Cain of making an unwanted sexual advance on her in 1997. Bialek is not among the three known accusers; she is Cain’s fourth accuser. She said she had been let go from the NRA’s educational foundation and had made contact with Cain to see if he could help her find a job. She met him at the Capital Hilton in DC, where Cain had upgraded her room, and that he later demanded sexual favors from her, saying “You want a job, don’t you?” Bialek says she told two other people about Cain’s actions shortly afterward, and both have given sworn statements to that effect. Allred held copies of both statements up at the press conference. Bialek says she did not file any complaint against Cain at the time because she was not employed at the NRA when the events occurred. Details of Bialek’s accusation:
She says Cain hooked her up with a “palatial suite” in Washington, D.C. Cain told her later that he had arranged for the “upgrade.”
Bialek says Cain took her to the NRA offices — she thought they were going inside, but Cain reached under her skirt to grab her genitals and tried to force her head down to his crotch. She says she said: “What are you doing? That’s not what I came here for.” To which she alleges Cain responded “You want a job don’t you?”
Bialek says she didn’t file a complaint because she didn’t work for the NRA.
“I am coming forward to give a face and a voice to those women who, for whatever reason, cannot come forward.”
Bialek concludes: “Mr. Cain, I implore you, make this right so that you and the country can move forward.”
Update: The Cain campaign’s J.D. Gordon responds:
“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.
“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.”
Update: In case you missed it, here is video of Bialek delivering her statement.
More: A few stray thoughts. Bialek seems credible, and has a very detailed memory of what she claims happened. She says she’s a Tea Party supporter. Yet she brought Gloria Allred into this? And Allred leads the press conference off with a joke about Cain offering Bialek his “stimulus package”? Bialek couldn’t have done much more to damage her own cause than involving Allred.
In an interview after Ms. Bialek’s news conference, Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer for one of Mr. Cain’s anonymous accusers, said that Ms. Bialek’s claims were “very similar” in nature to the incident that occurred between his client and Mr. Cain.
His client has not said whether Mr. Cain touched her physically. In a statement Friday on her behalf, Mr. Bennett alleged that Mr. Cain had engaged in a “series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances” toward his client.
“It corroborates the claim,” Mr. Bennett said of Ms. Bialek’s allegation. Asked whether that meant that Mr. Cain had physically touched his client inappropriately, Mr. Bennett said “I can’t get more specific” but added that “I can say it is corroborating.”
Mr. Bennett also said that a woman named Sharon from Chicago left a message on his answering machine over the weekend saying that she, too, had been the subject of harassment at the hands of Mr. Cain. Mr. Bennett said he called her back to suggest that he could arrange for her to come forward confidentially, but that she said that she would think about it.
After watching the news conference, Mr. Bennett said: “I guess she got over her shyness.”