Cain denies harassment allegation, vows to carry on
Presidential candidate says he never acted 'inappropriately'
SCOTTSDALE — Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on Tuesday categorically denied an allegation that he sexually harassed a former co-worker during an encounter in the 1990s.
“I have never acted inappropriately with anyone. Period,” Cain said at a news conference prior to attending private fundraisers in the state.
He said he didn’t recognize the face, voice or name of Sharon Bialek, who made her allegations at a news conference Monday. She said that Cain made inappropriate sexual advances toward her after she lost her job with the education sector of the National Restaurant Association, the group Cain was running at the time.
Several news organizations reported Tuesday that Karen Kraushaar, now a spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General, filed a sexual harassment claim against Cain in 1999 when she was employed at the National Restaurant Association. She received a cash settlement, the reports said.
Cain said he recalled an encounter in which he said the employee was the same height as his wife but that the woman made no complaint at the time.
Cain, the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, suggested that the allegations are a ploy to hinder his run for president and destroy his character.
“The machine to keep a businessman out of the White House is going to be relentless,” Cain said.
“I can’t tell you what that motivation is, other than just to stop Herman Cain,” he added.
Cain said he doesn’t take these accusations lightly.
“Sexual harassment is a very serious charge,” he said, adding that he would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence if there was a good reason to do so.
Cain said these claims won’t derail his campaign.
“I will not be deterred by false, anonymous, incorrect accusations,” he said.
Cain was joined by attorney Lin Wood, who said his client has been falsely accused.
“He comes before you today to defend his reputation,” Wood said, “a reputation that he has built over 40 years of being a good and decent man and a successful businessperson.”