Just about the only thing that was becoming clearer as the controversy headed into its fourth day was that it is not going to go away anytime soon.
The third accuser is an unidentified woman who told the Associated Press that she had considered filing a workplace complaint against Cain for what the news service described as “sexually suggestive remarks or gestures” when she was working at the National Restaurant Association and he was the head of the group.
The alleged misbehavior occurred about the same time that two co-workers settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, each reportedly for five figures.
Meanwhile, pollster Chris Wilson — who said he polled for the National Restaurant Association during Cain’s tenure, and whose firm has more recently done work for an outside super PAC supporting Perry — told Oklahoma radio station KTOK that he had witnessed harassment by Cain toward a very low-level staffer who was maybe two years out of college.
“I was around a couple of times when this happened, and anyone who was involved with the NRA at the time knew that this was going to come up,” Wilson told interviewer Reid Mullins.
The restaurant association has not commented on the specifics of the allegations, citing confidentiality agreements that it had signed with the two original accusers.
One of those accusers, now a federal employee, said earlier that she wanted to tell her story and rebut Cain’s assertion that her claims were unfounded. Her attorney, Joel P. Bennett, had said she was considering asking the restaurant association to free her from the confidentiality agreement.
On Wednesday night, however, she told a Washington Post reporter that she had decided not to go public. Asked why, she replied: “I’m too tired to say why.”
According to someone familiar with the thinking of Bennett’s client, she doesn’t want to go public because she is concerned about her privacy and her job.
Since reports of his alleged misbehavior surfaced on Sunday, Cain has fought back in a flurry of television appearances, though his defense has been marred by his shifting recollections and explanations. He first pleaded ignorance of the accusations or any settlement, but subsequently acknowledged that he had known of at least one of them.
On Wednesday, he shifted his strategy. “Don’t even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay?” he shouted at a media horde at one of his appearances. “Don’t even bother.” The candidate was accompanied by an apparent bodyguard, a burly man who roughly shoved several photographers out of Cain’s way.