US & Canada

Herman Cain denies Sharon Bialek sex harassment claims

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Media captionRepublican US presidential candidate Herman Cain says he will not be deterred from the presidential race by 'false, anonymous, incorrect accusations'

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has flatly denied allegations of sexual harassment and said he does not know his latest accuser.

In a press conference, Mr Cain said the accusations would not force him out of the race for president.

"Ain't gonna happen," he said. "I'm doing this for the American people."

Earlier, iPad news operation The Daily published the name of another accuser, who received a cash settlement.

Karen Kraushaar, who previously wished to stay anonymous, confirmed to radio network NPR that she stood by a statement made by her lawyer last week.

Standing firm

In that statement, she alleged Mr Cain made "a series of inappropriate behaviours and unwanted advances" towards her.

Ms Kraushaar's lawyer Joel Bennett has said his client is prepared to conduct a joint news conference with the other women accusing Mr Cain of misconduct.

Monday's accuser Sharon Bialek, meanwhile, made the rounds of morning TV news shows.

Mr Cain, a former pizza magnate who is enjoying his first spell in the national political spotlight, is a leading contender for the Republican nomination to take on President Barack Obama in 2012.

Speaking in Scottsdale, Arizona, Mr Cain said Mrs Kraushaar's allegations were "baseless" and also repeatedly denied that he remembered Ms Bialek or her name.

He reprised an earlier statement that Mrs Kraushaar's monetary "agreement" with the National Restaurant Association was not a settlement related to a sexual harassment claim but a personnel matter.

The association has said that it entered an agreement to resolve an internal claim of sexual harassment, "without any admission of liability".

However, Mr Cain was not a party to that agreement.

He also revealed that he was willing to take a lie detector test in order to prove his innocence.

Duelling TV appearances

Sharon Bialek, a former employee of a restaurant lobby group which Mr Cain once led, told a news conference in New York on Monday that he made an unwanted advance upon her after a dinner in Washington in 1997.

Ms Bialek, who identified herself as a single mother from Chicago and a registered Republican, said she had approached Mr Cain to ask for help finding work.

"He suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt toward my genitals," she said. "He also pushed my head toward his crotch."

Ms Bialek said when she asked Mr Cain what he was doing, he replied: "You want a job, don't you?"

Mr Cain poured scorn on the allegations of improper behaviour during an appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live show, recorded on Monday evening.

He joked that his fundraising had improved so much since the claims emerged that other candidates could benefit from their own scandal.

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Media captionSharon Bialek on ABC's Good Morning America: "I was not paid to come forward"

When the show's host asked if rival contenders should hire people to accuse them of sexual harassment, Mr Cain, said: "If they're smart they will."

"I'm not a liar," said Ms Bialek, flanked by her celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred on ABC's Good Morning America programme.

Asked if she believed Mr Cain was fit to be president, Ms Bialek replied: "Not until he tells the truth."

She acknowledged having had money difficulties, saying she once filed for bankruptcy protection because of her father's medical bills and a custody battle.

But she said her decision to speak out about Mr Cain had not been financially motivated. She said she was neither paid nor offered a job to go public with her allegations.

"It's not about me. I'm not running for president," she told one interviewer.

Ms Bialek said that one of the reasons she came forward to tell her story was that her 13-year-old son thought she should.

Washington news website Politico was first to report a week ago that at least two women had alleged sexual harassment by Mr Cain when he led the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

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