NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The Big Apple was once again the center of the Republican political universe Monday.

Attorney Gloria Allred held a news conference here with Sharon Bialek, who alleged that GOP presidential contender Herman Cain reached for her genitals and pulled her head towards his crotch in July 1997.

Sharon Bialek says that, when she asked Cain what he was doing, Cain said, “You want a job, right?”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

It’s the first time an accuser has gone public with allegations against Cain.

“Our client is very brave to have come forward. She could have attempted to sell her story but chose not to do so,” Allred said. “She knows that by stepping out into the light that she will face public scrutiny. We applaud her for her courage.”

Bialek charges that Cain harassed her during his tenure as chief executive of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), when she sought help from him with an employment issue.

Already, three former NRA employees have reported that they were harassed by Cain at the restaurant lobbying group; two of the women filed formal complaints and reached settlement agreements with the NRA.

Allred is known for taking on high-profile clients. Last year, she represented Nicky Diaz Santillan, the housekeeper that California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman fired because of her immigration status.

Cain has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has called the accusations a “smear campaign.”

His campaign addressed the latest allegations calling them “completely false.”

The campaign added that Cain “has never harassed anyone” and called Bialek’s claims “bogus attacks.”

The allegations have rocked Cain’s unorthodox presidential campaign just as he was riding high in public opinion polls two months before the leadoff Iowa presidential caucuses. He has emerged in national and state surveys as the leading conservative challenger to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination — adding unpredictability to a race already as volatile as any in recent memory.

What do you make of the allegations? Are they part of a smear campaign?

Comments (12)
  1. Vernon Hell says:

    Keep Herman the Vermin out of NYC. We already have enough gropers!

  2. Bullett says:

    Why all these charges fourteen years later? Where have these women been hiding? I think it’s a ruse. What say you cupcake?

    1. Professor says:

      Cupcake??? CUPCAKE??? Oh for pete’s sake. Go sit down and try not to display your Ann Coulter side.

  3. Richard Fox says:

    All these woman accusations are getting me to be a firm believer that Herman Cain can’t be trusted. I want a President to fix up this country and not a President that is a Womanizer.

  4. Ellen says:

    Cain has been in this Republican Presidential race for weeks now, so how come all of a sudden we have these women coming out with sexual harassment charges? Are these charges true or not, don’t know and by now don’t care. Hey, they never said anything about Ted Kennedy and all of his rumored affairs, so it’s seems a bit hypocritical to go on and on about Cain’s so called inappropriate behavior.

    1. Teddy says:

      Er, ah, I had caht blanche to do as I please. I was a Kennedy after all!

    2. Professor says:

      Are you SERIOUS? You don’t know and you don’t CARE? And you’re also a little short on knowledge of recent history. In a classic example of political payoffs, Ted Kennedy, whose dalliances were hardly “rumored”, left a party for a brief dalliance with a campaign staffer, Mary Jo Kopechne, back in 1969. He was plastered, drove off a bridge in the dark, and the car overturned in the water. He got out safely, didn’t bother to try to rescue her, instead, leaving her to drown. He also didn’t even bother to report the incident until the following morning. A week after the incident, Kennedy pleaded guilty to “leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury”. He received a two-month suspended sentence. A wrist-slap, instead of being arrested and imprisoned for DUI, and criminal negligence resulting in a death. The correct charges were never brought because of the political influence (and money) of his father, Joe Kennedy, who died later that same year. Herman Cain is a jerk, and as we now see, he’s also liar, and a bully, who probably should have been arrested for attempted sexual assault. Several times over. But that was a different time, and women were barely emancipated. Remember how Anita Hill was treated? There’s no question why the Herman Cain matter has surfaced now. If you have a drunk, staggering around and acting like an idiot, you simply look down on him. BUT….If he looks like he’s going to get behind the wheel of a car where he could actually hurt somebody, and assuming you have a brain, you take away the keys. That’s effectively what these brave women did. They took away Herman Cain’s keys. Good for them.

  5. Professor says:

    A smear campaign? Puh-leeze. The two people she told about the sexual assault immediately after it transpired have also gone on record with sworn statements. The victim is a lifelong, registered Republican who is showing enormous courage by speaking out. Here’s an FYI, gentlemen; There’s not a woman on earth who forgets about being subjected to this kind of experience. I was a married executive secretary working for a married HP vice president back in the 70’s when I was the recipient of a similar experience. This type of individual is a serial philanderer, a boor, a complete and utter jerk who doesn’t deserve ANYBODY’s respect, much less their campaign contributions.

    1. jagdish says:

      Plain and simple – odds are these women are not telling the complete truth and when that comes out it causes people to become desensitized to women who have truly been assaulted.

      1. Professor says:

        No……ODDS ARE, the National Restaurant Association didn’t shell out eighty some odd thousand dollars just because they were feeling particularly generous. TWICE. They have highly qualified attorneys on retainer, those attorneys carefully reviewed the charges against Mr. Cain, they interviewed the witnesses, and seeing significant merit to the claims, prudently advised the Association that it would be in their best interests to pay the women to go away, lest the matter become public and reflect negatively upon the Association. And those of us who HAVE been assaulted roundly applaud the courage of these women in coming forth.

  6. Jack says:

    i wouldnt trust a damn thing Gloria Allred says or does ! She is nothing but a lying, power hungry individual who does and says anything to get her name in the news. I am NOT a Cain supporter but in all fairness need alot more then Allred to believe the story.

    1. Scott says:

      Totally agree. This is no doubt a smear campaign.

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