“We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation,” Cain said, adding that he was willing to take a lie-detector test. “As far as these accusations causing me to back off and maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race — ain’t gonna happen.”
The controversy over the charges escalated just minutes before Cain’s news conference, when one of the previously anonymous women accusing him of inappropriate behavior decided to reveal her name after it appeared on news sites. She urged the other accusers to hold a news conference with her.
Karen Kraushaar, 55, a communications official for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, filed a claim of sexual harassment against Cain when he headed the National Restaurant Association and she was an employee there in the 1990s. She received a payment when she left the organization, but Cain, who disputed the allegations at the time, was not a party to the agreement.
“The reason sexual harassment is so difficult to prove is that workplace sexual predators try to make sure the victim is alone when the harassment takes place,” Kraushaar wrote in an e-mail after Cain’s news conference.
“Though reliving the matter is extremely painful, it is now no longer a private matter but a matter of public interest,” she said, adding that if her employer allows, she will appear with other women who have accused Cain “so that we can present together what happened.”
After more than a week of news stories about the allegations, Cain decided to address the public directly after Bialek delivered her detailed accusations Monday.
At her news conference, Bialek, a 50-year-old single mother who worked briefly in the restaurant association’s Chicago office, said Cain was driving her back to her hotel after their dinner when he pulled the car over, pushed his hand up her skirt and pushed her head down toward his crotch. She said she had asked to meet with him, at the urging of her then-boyfriend, to seek Cain’s help in finding work after losing her job at the association.
It was the first time one of Cain’s accusers had allowed her name to be used or appeared in public. And the graphic nature of the allegations removed the possibility that Cain’s accusers could have misunderstood his sense of humor, as some of his supporters suggested.