Third Former Cain Employee Claims She Was Harassed by GOP Candidate

WASHINGTON (CBS Washington/AP) — A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior including a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.

She did not file a formal complaint because she began having fewer interactions with Cain, she said. Afterward, she learned that a co-worker — one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week — had already done so. She said she would have had to file if they hadn’t.

The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. She was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She said she was reluctant to describe the encounters she had with Cain when they worked together at the Washington-based restaurant trade group.

The employee described in conversations with the AP over several days situations in which she said Cain told her that he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work.

His actions “were inappropriate, and it made me feel uncomfortable,” she said.

Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, replied, “No comment,” when he was asked Wednesday about the new allegations.

The AP confirmed that the employee worked at the restaurant association with Cain during the period in question, that she has no party affiliation in her voter registration in the past decade and is not identified as a donor in federal campaigns or local political campaigns. Records show she was registered as a Democrat at one point previously.

Though trying to project an image of campaign business as usual, Cain appeared frazzled at times Wednesday and couldn’t escape the questions that have dogged him since a published report Sunday night that at least two women had complained about his behavior while at the restaurant association and had been given financial settlements. The controversy has arisen two months before the leadoff Iowa caucuses and as the latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows Cain at the head of the GOP field, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a close second.

As the day began, Cain said, “There are factions that are trying to destroy me personally, as well as this campaign.” He didn’t say to whom he was referring, but he said “the voice of the people” is stronger.

Cain was supposed to take questions after a speech to health care professionals, but he ultimately refused and left the hotel through a back door.

“I’m here to visit with these doctors, and that’s what I’m going to talk about, so don’t even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, OK? Don’t even bother,” a testy Cain told a throng of reporters.

When pressed about the week’s previous allegations, Cain raised his voice and said “What did I say? Excuse me. Excuse me!” as hotel security led him through a hallway jammed with journalists in a Washington suburb. “What part of ‘no’ don’t people understand?”

Meanwhile, another of Cain’s accusers appeared increasingly reluctant to speak publicly, though her lawyer took the first steps for her to do so. Attorney Joel P. Bennett contacted the association on Wednesday and asked it to release his client from the confidentiality arrangement she had agreed to so that she could talk openly about her allegations and respond to Cain’s assertion that her complaints were “totally baseless and totally false.”

Bennett told CBS News Tuesday that the restaurant association “ought to waive the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions and let the two women, if they choose to do so, come forward and tell their stories so that it can get a complete public airing.”

Cain has declined to say whether he will ask his former employer to terminate confidentiality restrictions on the two women who accused him of sexual harassment in the 1990s while he was head of the trade group. Block said the campaign would address that question “when it’s appropriate.”

Sue Hensley, a restaurant association spokeswoman, confirmed that Bennett contacted the trade group and was told to contact its outside counsel. Hensley said Bennett expected to meet with his client and make the request on Thursday.

Confidentiality agreements that commit both sides to silence are common in financial settlements of an employee’s sexual harassment claims, lawyers for management and employees said. Violating such an agreement can lead to a complaint in court and an order to pay damages, or at least the other side’s attorney’s fees, said Sarah Pierce Wimberly, a partner in the Atlanta office of the Ford and Harrison law firm.

But when the silence is broken, it’s often hard to find the source of the leak, said Robert Kelner, a partner in the Covington and Burling firm’s Washington office. He said, “The truth is, when parties enter into these confidentiality agreements around a settlement, they usually understand that there is less than 100 percent certainty that the information is truly going to remain confidential.”

It’s not clear if Cain himself was part of the settlement or whether it just involved the association and the woman. But he almost certainly would be bound by it, as the association’s former president.

Over the past two days, Cain has acknowledged he knew of one agreement between the restaurant association and a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. He has said the woman initially asked for a large financial settlement but ultimately received two to three months’ pay as part of a separation agreement. Cain also acknowledged remembering one of the woman’s accusations against him, saying he stepped close to her to make a reference to her height and told her she was the same height as his wife.

He has said he is not aware of agreements or settlements with any other women, though Politico — which first disclosed the allegations — reported that the trade group had given settlements to at least two female employees who accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior.

In media interviews since the story broke Sunday, Cain has offered conflicting accounts of what happened during his tenure at the trade group in Washington. He later acknowledged knowing about one settlement but said he did not know how much was paid. The New York Times reported Tuesday that one payout was $35,000, equivalent to one year’s salary for one of the women.

The pressure on Cain only increased when a pillar of the GOP establishment suggested that the Georgia businessman should ask the association to waive the confidentiality agreements so that the woman can talk openly about her allegations.

“What are the facts?” asked Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on MSNBC. “If you have a confidentiality agreement that keeps the public from finding out something that the public is interested in knowing the facts, you ought to go on and get the facts out.”

“Herman Cain’s interest is getting this behind him,” added Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman.

A former talk show host, Cain is a self-styled political outsider who has attracted tea party support and, up until now, has weathered a series of stumbles that have many GOP luminaries questioning his ability to run a viable campaign much less win the party’s nomination. Conversely, Romney is running his second national campaign and has spent the past few weeks shoring up support among the GOP establishment for a nomination fight many Republican insiders think is his to lose.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • taosnow

    Wow …who knew Anita Hill ever worked at the NRA. No confidentiality but big bucks I’m sure.

    • Uptight Feminists

      And women wonder why they’re alone on Saturday night. Maybe his marriage had hit a dry spell and he was simply looking for female companionship. He made a pass, she said no, end of story. Another woman might have said yes.

      • Diogenes

        Actually, a gentleman who was present with a group during one incident of Cain’s sexual harassment has come forward (not sure which of the three women now accusing Cain was involved, or whether it was yet another incident). He said the harassment was so bad that others present told Cain to stop.

  • TDW

    An anonymous woman makes claims with nothing to back it up and you post it as news? I guess journalistic integrity doesn’t apply.

    • sueinmi

      Just wondering if the Larry Sinclair story will resurface and if we’ll hear of his ‘claims’ of trysts with the prez.

    • borntobepolitical

      I have a signed affidavit to that affect, unfortunately I can’t say for sure because I threw the file away twelve years ago.

      But I have complete faith in the accusers credibility, really

    • Joy

      TWD Thank you! What–it is trashy news and sounds like you agree! How much are these people getting paid to say all lies?
      From Joy

      • Diogenes

        Actually, we’re up to FIVE NOW, three direct victims and two corroborating witnesses.

        One paid settlement, you wonder. Two paid settlements, you get curious. Then you add:

        – a third woman who says if the first two hadn’t filed complaints against Cain, she would have. She was fortunate that her interactions with him dropped off.

        – a man has come forward to say he witnessed Cain so blatantly sexually harass a woman that the others in the group told Cain to stop.

        – an Iowa broadcaster says Cain made inappropriate comments that made station staff members uncomfortable earlier this year.

        Where there’s smoke …

    • Jedediah

      cainbots out in force

      • neil

        To P.F. Undit:

        You sir – make absolutely no sense. However I will spend enough time on your irrationality to light someones path.

        Here is what you posted: ‘It’s up to Jebediah to explain the details of the allegations made against him. It’s not up to the accuser or the reporter to divulge details. We just can’t go into it.’

        So answer me this – How can you possibly expect someone to know what lies someone else has said about them? How can anyone possibly “explain the details of the allegations made against” them? When the allegations are completely fabricated?

        Lets have an example: P.F. Undit – YOU FORCED ME TO DO SEXUAL ACTS UPON YOU WHEN I WAS 17!! 6 years ago. I am filing my complaint right here and right now. I had contact with you – alone – in the course of business. This is undisputed. Then you ‘forced me to do very nasty things and told me you would make sure I got fired if I ever told anyone. Due to a contract that I signed in exchange for money – I cant actually tell anyone what you did to me.

        NOW – it is your responsibility to defend yourself and EXPLAIN MY ALLEGATIONS AGAINST YOU!!!

        LOL. I’m sure that most non-libs get my point.

      • da_man

        What if Jebediah was a black conservative rapist, that would get things going.

      • Frazzled

        I’m coming out now that others have… Jedediah made unwanted advances against me when I was a minor – only 14. OH THE HUMANITY.

        Why did you do this Jedediah? Why? I”ve been in counseling ever since. You should be ashamed.

      • jasperddbgghost

        …better than being an Obama Pole Smoker.

      • P.F. Undit

        Jebediah owes the public an explanation for his actions. It’s up to Jebediah to explain the details of the allegations made against him. It’s not up to the accuser or the reporter to divulge details. We just can’t go into it.

      • Robert

        A warrant has been issued for Jedediah. Blogger rape is not going to be tolerated and an example will be made.

      • BARRY'S CONNECTICUT SSN 042-68-4425

        Google “OBAMA FAILED E-VERIFY”

        Another 6 letter word for Felony… BARACK!

      • Joe Magoo

        Have there been reports that Jedediah fooled around with some young boys a few years back? Thank you Jenna for giving us a heads-up on Jedediah!

      • HALLOWEEN @ OCCUPY 1600


      • Jenna

        seriously? How about this… Jebediah just raped me… everybody should condemn him and definitely not vote for him. Who am i? don’t worry about it. Why would I make this up?

    • Steve Adams

      William Dean Singleton (AP’s CEO) told rude jokes and asked inappropriate sexual questions of me. Then he started to hit on me. I don’t want to share my name as I fear he will retaliate against me and because of the agreement I signed not to talk about it which I am now breaking so the important truth will come out. You can contact me and my two witnesses on a separate trac phone for more details. 202-456-6213 This is news too – will you publish this???

  • k

    9/11 inside job

    • Steve

      Actually, thatts thre anonymous women, two of which are required to remain anonymous by the terms of the setlement of their sexual harassment claims.

      • Elbert

        How convenient for them.

    • Steve

      Up your meds, nutjob.

      • Steve

        Just to be clear, that comment was directed at the “911 trooother” above, not you. To your comment, I would add, “and for him, too.”

  • Segeny

    Anonymous claims have absolutely no validity to a fair-minded person. And any “news” source should be pilloried for engaging in these smear tactics. So,, SHAME ON YOU!

  • Lee

    Credible allegations of sexual ASSAULT come out on Bill Clinton and the media attack the victims. B.S. claims on a conservative Black candidate and the media play it 24/7. One need only look to the leftist media to find the surging racism still rampant in the Democratic Party — the same party that fought to keep slavery from being abolished.

  • getreal

    Oh My God, he hit on a woman. She apparently said no, and she didn’t get fired. This is headline news.

    • Nowknowbetter

      Don;t know if theres truth to these claims against Mr. Cain. I do however, have first-hand knowledge of being on the receiving end of such an accusation. I mistakenly shared the fact that I would soon leave my employer, with a co-worker. That co-worker shared my conversation..with the boss.
      The next week, I was called in and dismissed..for no reason. That was legal, (right to work state,) I filed for unemployment, and the company challenged my claim. On a 3-way phone interview with the boss, myself, and state unemployment, my boss claimed I had sexually harrassed another employee! I was shocked, but kept my cool. I asked him to repeat what he had said. The boss repeated that I had repeatedly pressured a co-worker about dating, and she felt “uncomfortable.” I admitted that I had indeed asked the lady to join me for lunch, (once,) .but NEVER asked her for a date. She never declined, and I was too busy to ask again. That was over a year previous!
      I told that boss that if he repeated that sexual harassment story once more, that he would be forced to explain it in civil court! He dropped the unemployment challenge. I later received a call from the young lady in question, who apologized and stated that she told the boss that I had once asked her to lunch. She was embarrassed that he would stoop to falsely saying she was harassed.
      Point being…This can happen to you over the smallest of normal work interactions. The charge alone dregs up memories of President Clinton. (Harasser in Chief) This whole thing with Mr. Cain smells of rotten, “high tech lynching”.

      • WasabiNinja

        I met my wife when we were working together. Good thing she said yes to the date or I would have been labeled a sexual deviant pervert for asking her out for drinks.

      • Amy Sterling

        I was forced to investigate and defend the company I worked for after a male employee made false, on-the-face absurd sexual harassment allegations against a female supervisor. This case lasted three years, with the end result that the accuser had to pay back tens of thousands of dollars of benefits he fraudulently received and narrowly avoiding prosecution. The false claims and constant lies almost killed the poor lady who had the misfortune of being his boss and trying to get him to do his job.

  • Multipurpose Glue

    How many more woman will come forward? Seems like he struck out a lot.

  • ttt

    Get over yourselves women!!! No one cares. At least he is not a member of Man’s Country like Obama.

    • Melissa Powell

      In mom jeans and with as much estrogen as anyone else on the View panel, no less…

  • Mike

    The work of Mitt Romney

    • MIke

      Wow, just now even a less factual accusation appears.

    • Steve

      Unlikely. Probably Rick Perry or Karl Rove. One thing’s for sure. It sure the heck isn’t the Democrats. They would love to have old Herm in the race for as long as possible.

  • sbenard

    Let me guess! Her name is Anita Hill!

  • Greg B.

    Cain’s real problem is that he carries waters for the banksters. By this time next year, that will be poison (amazing it’s not poison already).
    Example: Cain both said and wrote that the idea of auditing the Fed is stupid. The first partial audit turned up $16 trillion the Fed had loaned to banks all over the world.

  • Lou Ann Watson

    “A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint”…ok, now i know the media is bottom fishing, but the fish aren’t really biting. mike tyson, ben roethlesberger…need i say more? besides, it’s just about sex, right, mr clinton? nothing to see here, move along.

  • skeagle

    I am so tired of the politics of personal destruction that only seems to take a toll on conservatives or Republicans.
    I hope Mr. Cain will stand strong and get through these ridiculous accusations. Found it interesting that one paper didn’t want to violate the privacy of one of the so called victims, but has no problem violating mr. Cain’s privacy.
    If Bill Clinton can survive rape accusations and dallying in the White House, not to mention Ted Kennedy’s infamous personal life, then I urge Mr Cain to STAND TALL and weather this storm. These allegations are from over 15 years ago. Some women think it is sexual harassment if a gentleman opens a door for her. .

    • Can't Vote For a Liar

      I now care less about the accusations themselves. I would like to hear from the women themselves so we can determine their credibility.

      What really concerns me are Cain’s lies in response to the issue and how, as on some of his positions on campaign issues, he keeps changing his story. He was notified two weeks before Politico made the charges public, yet he didn’t spend any of that time getting his story straight or refreshing his recollection despite repeated contact from Politico asking him to respond. .

      • neil

        How do you recollect a fabrication? Especially one that you didn’t fabricate yourself?

        How can someone ‘prepare’ to defend against untruths?


      • NoMarxist

        Cain is not a professional politician, therefore, he is not a professional LIAR. We have a professional liar in the White House.. How’s that working out for you?

  • Ivy Gates

    He needs to ask Bill to be his consultant.

  • Bruce

    At around that same time I was seduced by Mr Cain while walking home from a playground near the NRA. It has affected me very badly ever since and I now see how wrong it was of him to do all those things to such an innocent little boy as I was back then. In order to pay for all the therapy I now need I’d be willing to sell my story. Please contact me through MediaMatters at any time. Ask for Bruce.

  • murf

    This is from CBS News who gave us RatherGate.

  • Jil Chastain-Clowers

    I guarantee that when this is all out in the open, that this will be a politically motivated stunt and that Cain will be cleared of all these so-called “allegations”. By political stunt, I mean the revealing of the charges which were dropped for lack of substance. I am a woman who has been in a male-dominated workplace for over 30 years and there is a lot of room in the sexual harassment laws to file absolutely unwarranted suits against men. I hate to say this about my on sex, but I’ve seen it happen all too often – almost like women are looking for something – anything that can be construed as sexual harassment so they can file. This is not to say that sexual harassment in the workplace does not happen, but “going after the big fish” is the most lucrative and, therefore, common practice.

  • John

    THIS is why people complain about the liberal media. They will print anything against a conservative……no problem. But they have to be given proof positive to do the same for a democrat. Fear not…..they are pushing voters and dollars to Cain with every report they run. They are making him bulletproof.

  • fred

    No pics, audios or proof, then shut up!

  • La Pondongo

    Hog Wash

  • uisignorant

    Sounds like he was hitting on her, not harassing her.

    • Jil Chastain-Clowers

      I don’t know if you were talking to me or not, but “hitting on” is considered harrassing. If you see two people kissing at work (on a regualr basis) and it makes you uncomfortable and the front office knows about it and does nothing, you can sue the company for sexual harrassment. The harrassment does not even have to be againt you.

      • Elbee

        Dear Mizz Hyphenated Surname,
        You point out how ridiculous the law has become. The intention was tp prevent decisions on hiring, promotions, pay raises, job assignmnets, firing and etc.from being based on sexual “favors” or unwanted sexual advances.
        Chronic complainers such as yourself have gotten ambulance chasers and their weenie friends in black robes to expand the law by judicial fiat to cover one merely feeling “uncomfortable” at some action, even if that person is not even involved in that action.
        “Uncomfortable” indeed. Bill Clinton had sex with an employee in OUR oval office
        but that was “persona’ between him and Hillary” we were told. I see Romney, Perry and the RNC (“Country club, check-pants Republicans). A GOP pollster for Perry indeed. No conflict there, eh? By the way the politicians who wrote the law are immune to prosecution. Again. grow up.

  • pup

    I heard Tiger Woods even turned him down.

  • Rick Boudreau

    Yep, I think it’s now day six and we are still waiting for the facts. I’m really impressed with the media’s ability to keep this alive. I refuse to believe these overpaid journalists and news organizations. They need to report some real news stories. As for myself, I won’t believe anything until I read it in the Enquirer. These people get paid much less, but still find the facts when it counts.

  • Leslie

    Handsome, tall, has a job…looking pretty good!
    This is total nonsense and I hope he rises above it

  • Thomas

    The left is PARANOID of Cain. Their shrill pitch is in direct proportion to their fear of him. Nice…

    • Steve

      You think THE LEFT leaked all this? Grow up. This is Rick Perry or more likely a Karl Rove type who wants the field cleared for Romney. Why in the name of the Lord would Democrats want Herman Cain out. He’s the best thing to happen to them and the longer he is in, the better they like it.

      • Steve

        Got it? Well, Mr. Redhog, your Mom always told me I had it. Made me blush, actually.

      • redhog

        We don’t know who leaked and neither do you mr. lib… it???

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