A doctor who once dated Herman Cain accuser Sharon Bialek came forward today to say that he remembered Bialek telling him in 1997 that Cain had "touched her in an inappropriate manner," and that he was the one who urged her to contact lawyer Gloria Allred and go public with her accusation.
Dr. Victor Zuckerman of Shreveport, Louisiana, who appeared at a Monday afternoon press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, said he had decided to go public himself in order to rebut Herman Cain's public statement that he had no idea who Sharon Bialek was and couldn't recall ever meeting her. "I'm here to shed light on whether or not Herman Cain knows Sharon Bialek." Zuckerman also admitted that he, like his ex-girlfriend, had experienced financial difficulties, but said he was not coming forward in order to profit.
Four different women have accused the Republican presidential frontrunner of sexually harassing them while they worked at the National Restaurant Association. Karen Kraushaar and a second woman filed internal complaints with the trade group and received financial settlements. A third woman told the Associated Press she had considered filing a complaint against Cain but decided against it because a coworker had already filed.
Cain has categorically denied all allegations of sexual harassment.
Bialek became the fourth accuser, and the first to go public, with a New York press conference on Nov. 7. She alleges Cain put his hand up her skirt, reached for her genitals and pulled her head toward his crotch. Bialek claims that when she resisted, he said, "You want a job, don't you?"
At the press conference, Gloria Allred flourished signed statements from two different men to whom Bialek had allegedly reported Cain's "inappropriate behavior" at the time. One of the men was described as a longtime friend and Chicago businessman, the other as a pediatrician Bialek was dating. Bialek did not identify the doctor by name at the time, but said she had traveled to New Jersey with him to meet his family, and had taken the train down to Washington for a meeting with Cain.
On Tuesday, Zuckerman confirmed that he was the doctor Bialek was dating in 1997. He said that Bialek had been working for the National Restaurant Association's education arm as a fundraiser in Chicago when she met Cain, then the trade group's president and CEO, at a national convention.
"During the convention," said Zuckerman, "Sharon indeed met and spent time with Mr. Cain. Mr Cain was the keynote speaker. Her job required that she be present at all functions. I remember Sharon saying that she and Mr. Cain had been at many of the same events. I also recall that at these events she was seated next to him at a lunch and at a dinner. She also told me she had the opportunity to speak with him at length with him in both cases."
Zuckerman said that Bialek was eager for him to meet "this man of wit, warmth and great public speaking ability." Bialek and Zuckerman went to a dinner where he met Mr. Cain, who then invited the couple to an after party attended by 50 to 100 people, according to Zuckerman.