Herman Cain is a sexual predator. Here, from Politico is a portion of Sharon Bialek’s description of what she says Herman Cain did to her. Bialek is the fourth woman to accuse Cain of “inappropriate” behavior and the first to come forward publicly and talk about what he did to her.
“I met Mr. Cain in the lobby of the bar at the Capitol Hilton at around 6:30 p.m. We had drinks at the hotel, and he asked how I liked my room, which is kind of normal, and I said I was very surprised. I said, I can’t believe it, I’ve got this great suite, it’s gorgeous. Mr. Cain kind of smirked, and then said, ‘I upgraded you.’
“He then took me to an Italian restaurant where we had dinner. During dinner, Mr. Cain looked at me and said, ‘Why are you here?’ I said, ‘Actually, Herman, my boyfriend, whom you met, suggested that I meet with you ‘cause he thought you could help me because I really need a job. I was wondering if there’s anything available at the state association level or perhaps if you could speak to someone at the foundation to try to get my job back, perhaps even in a different department.’ He said, ‘I’ll look into that.’
“While we were driving back to the hotel, he said that he would show me where the National Restaurant Association offices were. He parked the car down the block. I thought that we were going to go into the offices so he that could show me around. At that time I had on a black pleated skirt, a suit jacket and a blouse. He had on a suit with his shirt open. But instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked.
“I said: ‘What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn’t what I came here for.’ Mr. Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?’
“I asked him to stop and he did. I asked him to take me back to my hotel which he did, right away.
Is this rape? No, but it certainly fits the definition of sexual assault:
Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.
It may also fit the EEOC’s definition of sexual harassment:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Bialek had been working for the organization that Cain headed and was seeking his help in getting a new job with the organization. Therefore, Cain was in a position of power over Bialek.
Quite a few writers seem to be unclear on these concepts. At the NYT Caucus blog Cain’s actions are called “lewd behavior.” CBS calls it “sexually inappropriate behavior.” The AP calls it a “bold sexual advance.” Let’s start calling it what it is: sexual assault. No one has the right to touch another person in a sexual manner without permission, period.
I found this bizarre rationalization for and misrepresentation of Cain’s behavior at a right wing blog called Legal Insurrection, operated by William A. Jacobson of Cornell Law School.
Summary of press conference: Woman alleges that in 1997 after her employment terminated with a National Restaurant Association affiliate, Cain made a single sexual advance at her which she rebuffed and which he stopped after she said no. So the allegation is not one of workplace “sexual harassment” but of an alleged attempt at infidelity.
A variety of people on Twitter are characterizing this as a “serious sexual assualt,” but that is farfetched. Assuming what she says is true, he stopped when she said to stop and she did not allege any actual sexual touching, only an attempt. She says she mentioned to two people at the time that Cain was sexually inappropriate, but did not mention to details to them.
Wrong. Bialek says that Cain “suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.” Despite what Jacobson thinks he heard, Bialek clearly said that Cain touched her in a sexual way. The fact that he stopped when she told him to doesn’t change that.
Bialek is a Republican and a Tea Party supporter, not a liberal who wants to destroy Cain’s campaign. This should be really bad for him, but so far he isn’t backing down; and many Republicans like Jacobson are still making excuses for him.
At The Grio, Zerlina Maxwell argues that the fact the Bialek is white will finally destroy Cain, but at the NYT, T.R. Frank says not so fast.
…if you think the end of the Cain campaign is at hand, remember this: The end of the Cain campaign has been at hand for months. And yet the end doesn’t arrive. In fact, inspired by Cain’s example of thrusting face exuberantly into fan, I’ll offer my own face: the end isn’t about to arrive now either. I believe that Cain will weather this latest storm. He will suffer embarrassment. People will cringe at what emerges. And he will continue to poll far better than reason should allow.
And check this out:
is it any wonder that Herman Cain has shed a lot of high-level campaign staff members, both within his national organization and in crucial early states like Iowa and New Hampshire? Most of these former staff members have signed nondisclosure agreements, and others would speak to me only off the record. None of them recall their former boss as a sexual harasser. But they do speak of a man so egotistical that careful self-policing would never really enter into the realm of consideration.
They also speak — bitterly — of a candidate with zero interest in policy. They speak of events canceled at the last minute to accommodate any available television interview. They speak of unrelenting self-absorption, even by the standards of a politician.
But they don’t speak of someone who can’t win.
Personally, I think Cain should be gone already. But maybe Frank is right. The latest Gallup poll has Cain still tied with Romney for the lead in the race for the Republican nomination. And we know how much Republicans don’t want Romney.