Cain Accuser: "Unwanted Advances" from GOP Candidate

PHOTO: Joel Bennett, an attorney for a woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment while both worked at the National Restaurant Association, hands out statements during a news conference outside his office, Washington, Nov. 4, 2011.

One of Herman Cain's accusers released a statement Friday saying she was a victim of "a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances" while working for him at the National Restaurant Association.

"Mr. Cain knows the specifics" of the harassment complaint, the woman's attorney, Joel Bennett, said during a press conference in front of his Georgetown law office. "It had very specific incidents in it. If he chooses not to remember or to not acknowledge those, that's his issue."

Bennett read the woman's statement Friday afternoon after the restaurant industry association once led by the Republican presidential contender announced it would waive a confidentiality agreement that had barred her from discussing the harassment complaint she filed in July of 1999. Friday's disclosure provided few details about the specific incidents that led her to complain. However it did, for the first time, reveal that Cain allegedly made repeated, unwanted advances, and that there were alleged to have been multiple incidents over the course of "at least a month or two."

"She has decided not to relive the specifics of the incidents so I cannot give any further details," Bennett said.

Bennett said he did not want to characterize "what was physical and what was verbal," but that Cain's behavior "qualified as sexual harassment in our opinion."

The woman's statement came after spending nearly a week desperately searching for a way to both defend her reputation and maintain some semblance of privacy, her lawyer told ABC News prior to releasing his client's statement Friday.

"I'm sure my client stands by the allegations she made in 1999," Bennett told ABC News. "But her privacy is her primary concern."

WATCH Brian Ross interview Joel Bennett

Bennett described his client as an "intelligent, well-educated woman with a professional job in the federal government, happily married for 26 years." He says she was thrust unsuspectingly into the public spotlight earlier this week when word leaked that she had once filed a sexual harassment complaint against Cain, a Republican presidential contender who had been surging in recent political polls.

"It's been quite an adjustment for her," Bennett said. "She's a private person, and has no desire to be a public figure."

His client's wish, Bennett said, was to have the chance to respond to Cain's assertion that her sexual harassment complaint was determined to have been without merit. The woman had no interest in dredging up the episode, Bennett said, her desire to keep quiet only shaken when she heard Cain say her allegations were determined to be baseless fabrications.

Follow BrianRoss on Twitter

Follow ABCNewsBlotter on Facebook

"I know that she was upset about it," Bennett said. "He said that the allegations were baseless and he never engaged in any such acts, and my client made good faith complaints based on actual events."

Bennett said the woman had been hamstrung, unable to respond because of the deal she struck with the National Restaurant Association. As part of the agreement, she was paid a reported $45,000. If she spoke out, he said, she could be the subject of a lawsuit, and could lose her money.

But on Friday, the association released a statement of its own, saying that the organization had advised Bennett "that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit Mr. Bennett's client to comment."

Her comments were restrained, but during about 10 minutes of questions that followed, Bennett made it clear his client was distressed that Cain had dismissed her harassment complaint as false and frivolous.

"My client stands by the complaint she made," he said. "Mr. Cain has made statements. My client felt she wanted to respond to those statements."

Further, Bennett said he believes the fact that there were at least two complaints brought against Cain during the four years he worked at the association was "meaningful."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...