The first woman to go public with accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain said today that his decision to drop out of the presidential race was a "vindication," but that she was saddened that the former Republican frontrunner "has tried to place the blame elsewhere."
Sharon Bialek said during a Chicago press conference with attorney Gloria Allred that it was wrong for Herman Cain claim that he suspended his campaign because charges of sexual harassment and a long-term extramarital affair had gotten in the way of his message.
"Herman Cain got in the way of his own message," said Bialek, 50. "His past and his unwillingness to tell the truth got in the way of his own message. He has no one to blame but himself."
Said Bialek, "This is kind of my vindication. . . . I feel I have impacted his race for president."
Bialek said she doesn't feel sorry for Cain, but she does feel sorry for his wife Gloria. Watching the Saturday press conference during which Cain announced the suspension of his campaign, said Bialek, "I was more focused on Gloria, his wife. I felt very sad for her. She probably wasn't aware of this. I felt sad for him that he couldn't bring himself to admit to her some of the things that he had done in the past."
Cain suspended his campaign after Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White came forward to allege that he had carried on a 13-year extramarital affair with her.
"With a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign, because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt on me and my family," said Cain in Atlanta, with his wife by his side.
Cain asserted that the allegations of an affair were untrue, using the words "false accusations" three times. He said that the distraction of the accusations hurt him, his family, his wife, and the American people -- "because you are being denied solutions to our problems."
Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, has acknowledged, however, that Cain had given White financial help up until "a week or ten days" before she went public.
White said she was motivated to speak in part by what she felt were Cain's disparaging remarks about the women who had accused him of sexual harassment.
During Monday's press conference, Bialek said that Cain's denial of sexual harassment allegations had inspired her to go public with her own claim.
Bialek Describes Alleged Harassment by Cain
When she came forward Nov. 7, Bialek described an alleged incident in Washington in 1997 in which the presidential contender, then the president of the National Restaurant Association, stuck his hand up her skirt and tried to pull her head toward his crotch.
"I said, 'What are you doing?'" alleged Bialek, who said she had contacted Cain for help getting a job. "You know I have a boyfriend. This isn't what I came here for."
According to Bialek, Cain answered, "You want a job, right?"
Allred said Monday that when Bialek first approached her with her story about Cain, Bialek thought that Cain would take the opportunity to come clean. "She truly believed that he would acknowledge what he had done wrong," said Allred.
Bialek said Cain had missed an opportunity at redemption. "The American people love to forgive," she said. "But he couldn't find it in his heart to tell the truth."
Before they took question, Allred and Bialek taped a Cain scorecard on clipboard that graded Cain on his response to charges of sexual harassment and adultery. Taking off on Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan, Allred said that Cain should receive a score of zero for dishonesty, for refusing to accept responsibility, and for showing a lack of respect to both his accusers and "public intelligence" by making blanket denials.
"Anyone who runs for president has to be prepared to have his character examined," said Allred, who also expressed outrage that by suspending his campaign instead of ending it Cain remains eligible for federal matching funds.
The Cain campaign had characterized both Bialek and Ginger White as women with troubled history. Bialek acknowledged her financial troubles during Monday's press conference. Last week, the Cook County Sheriff's Office attempted to serve her with an eviction notice for non-payment of rent. She denied seeking any financial gain from telling her story to the media, and said her number one priority now is finding a job. According to public documents reviewed by ABC News, Bialek has a history of job changes and financial woes over the past two decades.
She has declared bankruptcy twice, and has lost multiple court judgments for debts totaling more than $10,000. Bialek filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and again in 2001. Among the debts listed in 2001 are over $14,000 in credit card charges and more than $17,000 owed to the lawyer who handled a paternity case.
As of August 2011, she owed the Illinois Dept. of Revenue $4,384. By 2009, she owed the federal government $5,176 in taxes for years 2004 and 2005. There was also a lien for $885 filed against her in 2006 by a company that installed a water heater in her apartment. It was not clear if Bialek has repaid the debts.
In 2000, a judge awarded plaintiff Broadacre Management $4930.77 for unpaid rent, which included court costs. Broadacre was listed as a creditor on her 2001 Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Last year Bialek lost a default judgment for more than $3,500 to Illinois Lending, according to Cook County online court records, and in 2005 lost another judgment in a separate case for more than $3,000.