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Sharon Bialek says she came forward to 'help' Herman Cain

November 08, 2011|By Kim Geiger | Washington Bureau

The fourth woman to accuse Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment stood by her claim Tuesday, insisting that she was not paid to come forward with her story but that she did so to “help” Cain.

Making the rounds of the morning talk shows, Sharon Bialek, a Chicago-area woman who once worked for the National Restaurant Assn.’s Educational Foundation, said she wanted to give Cain “a platform to come clean” about his alleged history of sexual harassment.

At a Monday news conference, Bialek described being groped by Cain during an encounter some 14 years ago.  

Bialek is the fourth woman in just more than a week who has surfaced with allegations that Cain behaved inappropriately during the time that he was heading the National Restaurant Assn. She is the first who has put her name and face to the claim.

“I actually did it because I wanted to help him,” Bialek said in an interview with CBS’ "The Early Show." “I wanted to give him a platform to come clean, to tell the truth.”

Cain has repeatedly denied having ever sexually harassed anyone and he told TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel last night that he wanted to “set the record straight,” and that “there’s not an ounce of truth in any of these allegations.”

In an interview with CNN, Bialek said she decided to come forward after her 13-year-old son said, “You need to tell on him.”

Bialek has had financial struggles in the past, and it didn’t take long for those issues to be brought to light.  She said Tuesday that she had declared bankruptcy “after the death of my mother, to help my father pay for medical bills, and a custody battle.”

“Like millions of other people out there, I was struggling,” Bialek said. “I could have sold my story but I didn’t.”

Bialek insisted that she was paid “nothing at all” to come forward.

“I was not paid to come forward, nor was I promised any employment,” she said in an interview with ABC. “I’m just doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”

Asked if she would consider voting for Cain, Bialek told CBS that she would “have to think about that.”

“I hope that he does [come clean] and I’d have to think about that one,” she said.

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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