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Karen Kraushaar: Claim against Herman Cain 'not baseless'

November 09, 2011|By Tom Hamburger | Washington Bureau
(Associated Press )

Karen Kraushaar, one of the former National Restaurant Assn. employees accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment, said Wednesday she hopes to hold a news conference with other aggrieved women in the near future, but has not had a firm response yet from the other women.

“As of this time, we have not heard from the other women who have stated that they were sexually harassed,” Kraushaar said in a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times late Wednesday morning by her attorney, Joel P. Bennett.  “We are still hopeful that they will have the courage to come forward, but we completely understand if they choose not to,” the statement said, adding: “Anyone should be able to report allegations of sexual harassment without fear that their lives and careers will be put on public display and laid open to public scrutiny.”

In a separate email message, Bennett said his client will relate details of her repeated encounters with Cain at the news conference, if it takes place. He said Tuesday night that he had been in contact with the attorney for Sharon Bialek, a Chicago woman who claimed she was groped by Cain in 1999 as she sought a job interview. That attorney, Gloria Allred, said that she hoped Bialek would agree to a joint news conference, but she had not heard from her client.

Cain has denied all of the harassment allegations against him, suggesting they are part of a Democratic party-sponsored conspiracy.

In her prepared statement, Kraushaar defended her allegations after Cain’s statement Tuesday that her complaint was found to be “baseless.”

“This matter occurred in 1999, when I made good-faith allegations of sexual harassment while I was employed at the National Restaurant Assn. They were not baseless and a settlement was deemed appropriate. As my attorney and I have said, we stand by that complaint,” the statement said.

In it, Kraushaar also said she still hoped to put the incident behind her and get on with her career as a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department.

The statement concluded with this:

“As a career federal employee, I have no interest in getting involved in the presidential campaign. Even though I understand the intense media interest in this story, I cannot allow the continuing fascination with it to be a distraction to me, my colleagues and staff.  We have jobs to do. I am proud to be a career member of the federal work force, and anxious to continue with my duties."

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