Today we got what many have been asking for: A real, live person who would actually go public with allegations again Herman Cain and be brave enough to endure the scrutiny. Her name is Sharon Bialek, and she is a past employee of the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation.
Following a lengthy story about her casual interactions with Cain and losing her job with the Foundation because of poor fundraising performance, she reports asking Cain for his help to find her a new job. In 1997, Bialek traveled to Washington, D.C. to have dinner with Cain. Following dinner, Bialek claims Cain made unwanted advances. In her words:
“At that time I had on a black pleated skirt, a suit jacket and a blouse. He had on a suit with his shirt open. But instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and he 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. 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.”
Frankly, IF her story is true, this is not sexual harrassment – its assault. She says she did not report what happened because she was embarrassed.
Immediately following the press conference, the Cain campaign issued a statement:
“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.”
The first thing that needs to be investigated is her claim that Herman Cain surprised her with an upgrade to a large suite at the hotel. If true, it would certainly lend credibility to her claim. I’m sure the media is on that one and we’ll know soon.
Only time will tell whether this is credible or a witch hunt. Regardless, Herman Cain is going to have to do better than his short statement. I have no doubt he will spend his week reacting to this new accusation, which has far more detail behind it than the others. If remotely true, he has only one hope, and that is to somehow come clean with a different recollection of the events. If false, he has a lot of explaining to do to convince Americans otherwise. Either way, this may very well be the end of the “Cain Train.”