Sharon Bialek, a woman employed by the National Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation in the late 90s, accused Herman Cain of inappropriate sexual contact today in a press conference with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.
Bialek said she first met Cain when employed by the NRA as a manager of industry relations. She lost her job there shortly thereafter, and at her boyfriend’s suggestion, arranged to meet Cain in D.C. over coffee in 1997 to discuss her career. She told Cain what hotel she would be staying at; when she arrived, she had been upgraded to a suite, which she later found out had been through his doing, although she says she was not aware of that at the time. Cain also switched their meeting to a restaurant. After eating, Bialek said the two drove over to the National Restaurant Association headquarters; she assumed he would show her the offices.
“He suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt, and reached for my genitals,” said Bialek of what happened next. “He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked. I said, ‘What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn’t what I came here for.’ Mr. Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?’ I asked him to stop and he did. I asked him to take me back to my hotel, which he did, right away.”
Bialek said she told her boyfriend and another friend that Cain had been “sexually inappropriate” to her at the time, but said she had not detailed what occurred.
Bialek, identified by Allred as a registered Republican, said she saw Cain again about a month ago at a Tea Party conference in the Chicago area. She asked him if he remembered her. “He acknowledged that he remembered me from the foundation, but he kind of looked uncomfortable,” Bialek said. “He said nothing as he was whisked away for his speech by his handlers.”
As noted, before the press conference began, the Cain campaign put out a statement saying the allegations were “completely false.”
At this time, Bialek does not intend to go forward with a lawsuit against Cain.