Sharon Bialek has become the fourth woman to accuse GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment.
At New York’s Friars club, an historic comedy venue in mid-town Manhattan, Bialek revealed herself to TV cameras and reporters, becoming the first of Cain’s accusers to put a face to the allegations. She was flanked, as we predicted, by camera-happy lawyer Gloria Allred.
The presidential candidacy of Cain has already been dealt blows by similar accusations, but Bialek’s decision to go public may make her claims even more potent. She says that when she refused Cain’s advances some fourteen years ago, he shot back with: “You want a job, right?”
If Cain’s presidential candidacy is now teetering somewhat – one poll showed his negative ratings at 18% on Sunday and jumping to 35% by Monday – Bialek’s unsettling and frank account of her experience could mark the beginning of the end.
At Monday’s press conference, she emotionally described how, in July 1997, she went to Cain for advice, but was met by something quite different. After a lunch together, Cain is alleged to have driven Bialek back to the offices of the NRA, where she had recently lost her job. Once they had parked up:
“[Cain] suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch.”
Bialek says this left her shocked and emotional, as she told Cain that this was “not what I came here for.” She would later tell her boyfriend and a businessman friend about Cain’s actions, and both men have confirmed this in sworn testimony. The accuser went on to ask Cain to step down from his bid for the presidency:
“We need a leader who … exemplifies the standard of a person of good moral character. Mr Cain, I implore you, make this right so that you and the country can move forward.”
Previously, three separate women have claimed claim inappropriate sexual behaviour by Cain in the 1990s. All of which should make Cain’s appearance on Wednesday’s televised presidential debate thoroughly awkward.