Sharon Bialek and Gloria Allred (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A fourth woman has accused Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment--this time in public. Sharon Bialek told reporters in a press conference Monday that Cain groped her and exhibited "sexually inappropriate" behavior toward her when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.
Bialek, a former NRA employee who worked for the association in between 1996 and 1997, said the encounter occurred shortly after she was laid off from the group's education fund in July 1997.
She said she had approached Cain for help in looking for a new job and had traveled to Washington, D.C., where she had dinner with the then-NRA head. She told reporters that upon her arrival in D.C. she discovered that Cain had secretly upgraded her hotel room to a suite.
After dinner, the two were sitting in his car when she claimed he "suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals" and moved her head toward his crotch.
"I was surprised and shocked, and I said, what are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend," Bialek recalled saying. "This is not what I came here for."
Bialak claimed that when she protested, Cain replied, "You want a job, right?
She told reporters Cain backed off after she asked him to stop, and he drove her back to her hotel.
Bialek, who identified herself as a stay-at-home single mom who lives in Chicago and is a registered Republican, said she didn't file a complaint with the NRA in part because she was no longer formally employed by the group--and also because she was "very embarrassed." She was joined at the press conference by her attorney, celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who offered sworn affidavits from two friends to whom Bialek spoke shortly after the alleged encounter.
"I was very very surprised and very shocked," Bialek said, adding that she had come forward to be a "face" for women who had been harassed by Cain. "I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean. Just admit what you did. Admit you were inappropriate to people ... I implore you. Make this right."
The Cain campaign issued a statement denying Bialek's claims.
"All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false," the campaign said in a statement. " Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone."
Bialek is the fourth woman to accuse Cain of sexual harassment when he was head of the NRA, but she's the only accuser who has spoken publicly.
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