Tags: Lawyer | Cain | Harassed | month

Lawyer: Cain Harassed Woman 'at Least a Month'

Friday, 04 Nov 2011 05:53 PM

By Martin Gould

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The lawyer for Herman Cain’s main sexual harassment accuser claimed on Friday that the GOP presidential front-runner subjected his client to a series of inappropriate acts over “at least a month or two.”

cain harassed monthBut Joel Bennett refused to give any specific details of the alleged harassment as he spoke to reporters outside his office in Washington, D.C.

And he hinted that the woman’s name will soon come out. “She prefers her privacy and not to be a public figure. If the media chooses to publish her name that is the media’s business. She would prefer that it not be published."

Bennett, said that both the woman, who now works for a number of federal government agencies, and her husband of 26 years, “see no value in revisiting this matter now, nor in discussing the matter any further, publicly or privately.
“In fact it would be extremely painful to do so,” he added.

Bennett’s initial statement, which he said he and his client had written together, didn’t even mention Cain by name. But in a question-and-answer session with reporters afterwards he said, “Mr. Cain knows the specific incidents that were alleged. My client filed a written complaint in 1999 against him specifically and it had very specific incidents in it. If he chooses to not remember or not acknowledge those, that is his issue.

“I would be astounded if the complaint was not brought to his attention.”

Bennett also said he was not surprised that other women have alleged being harassed by Cain. “There’s an expression ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire.’ The fact there are multiple complaints tells me that it is more likely than not that there was some sexual harassment activity by this man at that time. ..The fact there is more than one complaint is meaningful.”

Bennett read his statement, which started, “In 1999 I was retained by a female employee of the National Restaurant Association concerning several instances of sexual harassment by the then-CEO.

“She made a complaint in good faith about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the CEO. Those complaints were resolved in an agreement with her acceptance of a monetary settlement.

“She is grateful that she was able to return to her government career where she is extremely happy serving the American people to the very best of her ability,” Bennett added. “She looks forward to continuing to work hard for them as we face the significant challenges that lie ahead.”

“Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. Sexual harassment is unfortunately very much alive and with us, even today and women must fight it in all kinds of workplaces and at all levels. My client stands by the complaint she made.”

The woman is one of two who filed formal complaints against Cain. It has been reported that she received at least a full year’s salary as compensation in return for quitting the group and signing an agreement that she would not talk about her allegations.

Earlier this week, Bennett had claimed that she should be released from that agreement as Cain had released details of the complaint. He had said that he had told the woman she was about the same size as his wife while she was in his office.

He initially said she wanted to speak out publicly, then backtracked to say that she wanted to give details in a statement. Now he says she will not release any details.

In answer to questions, Bennett said, there was “more than one” incident, but he said he would not get more specific. “It went on for at least a month or two as I recall,” he said.

He said he was sure his client “would disagree with the statements (Cain) has made concerning her complaint” but he said, “We are not going to be more specific about what was physical, what was verbal. It qualified as sexual harassment in our opinion.”

Bennett said he had had no contact with either the Cain campaign or any attorneys for other women who have claimed Cain pestered them. He said it was unclear whether the former pizza mogul had breached the agreement as he had not personally signed it and it was unclear whether Cain was even still with the group at the time.

“Whether it could have bound a CEO who was no longer there, who didn’t sign it, is a legal issue that I haven’t had to get into and I am not going to express an opinion on it,” Bennett said.

He said his client had not told him whether she feels Cain is fit to be president. “I don’t believe she is going to express an opinion on it,” he added.

“Beyond this statement she has decided not to relive the specifics of the incidents, so I cannot give any further details,” he added. He said she is in a position where she could say more, but has decided she does not want to.
Bennett said he had not asked the restaurant association to lift the non-disclosure agreement “beyond making this statement.”

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