Thursday 14 December 2017

US Presidential race: Herman Cain is a monster, says second woman

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and Karen Kraushaar in 1999
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain and Karen Kraushaar in 1999
Sharon Bialek speaking during a news conference in New York yesterday where she accused Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Photo: Getty Images

Jon Swaine, Washington

A SECOND woman who claims she was sexually harassed by Herman Cain has identified herself, as the Republican presidential hopeful said he would undergo a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

Karen Kraushaar, a US Treasury spokesman, was revealed as one of two women to have received five–figure payouts from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about Mr Cain in the 1990s.

Mrs Kraushaar, 55, of Maryland, last night described Mr Cain as "a monster". Her lawyer, Joel Bennett, said that she suffered "multiple incidents over multiple days" with Mr Cain, who was president of the Washington–based lobbying organisation until 1999.

She told an interview she felt "extremely vulnerable" and left the group in the hope of finding "a job some place safe". She called for all of Mr Cain's alleged victims to hold a "joint press conference".

Mr Cain insists he merely told Mrs Kraushaar: "You're the same height as my wife" and gestured to his chin while together in his office. "The door was open," he said last night. "My secretary was right there".

The married 65–year–old grandfather said that Mrs Kraushaar's allegation "was found to be baseless" in an internal inquiry, and insisted that he had "never acted inappropriately with anyone" in his life.

Addressing the allegations for the first time at a press conference in Arizona, Mr Cain also repeatedly stated that his alleged assault of another former colleague in 1997 "simply did not happen". Sharon Bialek, 50, said on Monday that Mr Cain had stuck his hand up her skirt and "reached for her genitals" as they sat in a car after meeting to discuss her career prospects.

Mr Cain claimed last night that he had never seen Miss Bialek before she made her allegations.

"The Democratic machine brought forth a troubled woman to make false accusations," he said.

Miss Bialek claims that she saw Mr Cain as recently as a month ago, at a conservative rally where she began speaking to him before he was whisked away by advisers. Mr Cain's campaign team suggested yesterday that Miss Bialek, who has twice filed for bankruptcy and whose British fiance had a $1.2 million home repossessed, came forward to make money.

In response to suggestions that he may withdraw from the Republican race, he said: "It ain't gonna happen. Because I am doing this for the American people. I will not be deterred by false, incorrect accusations."

Asked whether he would be willing to undergo a polygraph test to disprove the allegations, Mr Cain said: "I absolutely would" before adding: "Under the proper circumstances".

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