Herman Cain accuser 'got $35,000 in severance pay'
Published 02/11/2011 | 13:59
One of the two women who accused Republican White House hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s was given $35,000 (£22,000) severance pay over the incident, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper cited three sources as saying that the woman, then an employee at the National Restaurant Association, was given the amount – a full year's salary – after saying the encounter with Cain had made her uncomfortable.
Mr Cain, a former pizza company CEO who has led recent polls, was chief executive of the association at that time.
The candidate has denied any wrongdoing but admitted on Tuesday that a woman who accused him of sexual harassment received a paid settlement in the 1990s.
The charges by the two women came to light earlier this week in an explosive story by the news website Politico.com that has sent shock waves through Washington and threatened to derail Mr Cain's presidential campaign.
Politico said the women complained that Mr Cain had made sexually suggestive questions, comments and gestures, and that one woman suffered what was described by a source close to the association as "an unwanted sexual advance" from Mr Cain at a hotel.
The New York Times cited four sources as saying that the encounter with the woman who received the severance package had taken place during a work outing at which there had been heavy drinking.
A lawyer for the second woman on Tuesday called on the restaurant association to release his client from a confidentiality agreement that prevents her from speaking out on the matter.
Cain has dismissed the charges as part of a "witch hunt" and initially denied knowledge of any settlement, saying that if there was one, "I hope it was not for much because I did not do anything."
The 65-year-old former CEO of Godfather's Pizza has emerged in recent polls as a front-runner for the Republican nomination, alongside former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.