Accusers of US Republican candidate under intense scrutiny
Summary of story from New York Times, November 10, 2011
The lawyer for one of the women who have accused Herman Cain – a candidate for the 2012 US Republican Party presidential nomination – of sexually harassing them in the late 1990s said that she has been unable to coordinate a joint press conference with three other women who have made similar accusations.
Joel P. Bennett, said that Karen Kraushaar does not intend to talk to the news media or to authorise him to talk further, until — and unless — the other women agree to come forward together to present what she said would be “a body of evidence” of Cain’s alleged misdeeds.
“She will have no further comment until that time, and she and I will not be granting any interviews to the media before any such press conference,” Bennett told reporters during a brief news conference outside his Georgetown office.
The announcement would appear to buy Cain some breathing space in what had been an 11-day string of news reports about allegations that he sexually harassed employees at the National Restaurant Association and one of its non profit offshoots when he was its chief executive (see WVoN coverage).
Since news of the accusations broke on Politico.com on October 30, Mr Cain has faced a relentless stream of reports about his encounters with the women, all of which he has strenuously denied.
Ms Kraushaar initially said that she wanted to reach out to the three other women who said Cain had harassed them and hold a joint news conference to spell out the details of their experiences.
But despite “diligent efforts,” she has been unable to speak with two of the three women, both of whom have remained anonymous throughout the last two weeks, although another woman, Sharon Bialek, did step forward to accuse Mr Cain of making a rough physical advance on her as he suggested she engage in a sexual encounter in return for his assistance in finding her a new job.
In the days since Ms Kraushaar suggested a joint press briefing, she and Ms Bialek have come under intense scrutiny in the news media, amplified by the remarks of highly critical conservative commentators who have rallied to Cain’s defense.
Ms Kraushaar has told friends that she fears the scrutiny and criticism she and Ms Bialek have received, and warnings have frightened them off from publicly discussing their experiences.
She is now said to be hoping that she can at the very least meet with the other women to talk in private and then see if any sort of joint briefing can be arranged.
WVoN comment: This seems to have echoes with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case when Nafissatou Diallo was vilified by the media and eventually withdrew her allegations. Let us hope that Kraushaar, Bialek and the anonymous women find the courage to persist.