Cain forced to come out fighting after sex claims

Republican presidential hopeful hits out at detailed allegations of sexual misconduct

Washington

A defiant Herman Cain last night hit back at the charges by four former women work colleagues of sexual harassment, insisting he had "never acted inappropriately with anyone, period", and denouncing the "false and incorrect" allegations of his accusers.

"The charges and accusations I absolutely reject, they simply didn't happen," the Republican presidential candidate told a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, 24 hours after Sharon Bialek accused him of groping her, during his years as head of the National Restaurant Association. "I repeat, they simply didn't happen."

In a statement released earlier, Mr Cain attacked Ms Bialek's credibility, accusing her of being a troublemaker and noting her past financial difficulties, suggesting that she had become the first of the four women to go public with her charges, in order to sell her story for money.

But the candidate's difficulties were compounded when another of the four accusers came forward, saying she was ready to go into detail about her experiences in the late 1990s when she was an employee of the restaurant group.

Karen Kraushaar, who now works at the Treasury Department, told The New York Times and The Washington Post, that she was thinking of a joint press conference, "where all of the women would be together with our attorneys and all of this evidence would be considered together".

At his press conference Mr Cain – who had initially seemed to treat the accusations lightly – declared time and again that sexual harassment was a serious issue, but that he had no recollection whatsoever of any of the alleged incidents, and even hinted he would be ready to undergo a lie detector test.

Nor had he any intention of pulling out of the race. "Ain't gonna happen," he said with his trademark bluntness. "Yes, it's been tough, but I'm Herman Cain," and he would see the controversy through. Instead he accused the "Democrat machine in America" of "bringing forth a troubled woman to make accusations".

Even so his improbable but thus far remarkably durable bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination seemed in real jeopardy last night, with one political betting site predicting that there was an even chance Mr Cain would be out of the race by the end of the year. Until now he seemed to be surviving unscathed, maintaining a lead in the polls alongside Mitt Romney, the favourite.

But Ms Bialek's charges, and the emergence of Ms Kraushaar change the equation. Indeed if the former's account of events after a night on the town on Washington is true, what happened was not merely sexual harassment but borderline sexual assault. Her charges essentially left him no choice but to confront her head on. But Ms Bialek hit back, insisting in a television interview yesterday that she had "nothing to gain" by coming forward. She was speaking out, she said, on behalf the other women who had trouble with Mr Cain. "It's not about me. I'm not running for President."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before