Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Details on Herman Cain's Sexual Harassment Charges Emerge

If this is all they have, Cain should be able to skate through this. WSJ reports:
On Monday, people familiar with Mr. Cain's tenure as a board member and later president of the restaurant association gave conflicting views of his time there. Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Wall Street Journal that the trade group came to a financial agreement with at least one female employee in the late 1990s after she alleged an inappropriate advance by Mr. Cain.

One of these people said that Mr. Cain, during an industry-related conference, asked a female employee of the association to visit his room. The person said that woman declined Mr. Cain's suggestion, there was no physical contact and Mr. Cain was not intimidating. A second person, a member of the restaurant association's board, told the Journal that a special committee of the trade group's board looked into the woman's complaint.

Both people said the investigation resulted in a financial arrangement. It was unclear whether the agreement was a settlement tied to the woman's complaint or was a more routine severance payment linked to an employee's departure.

W.W. "Biff" Naylor, a California restaurant owner and restaurant association board member, cast doubt on the idea of a settlement by the trade group. Mr. Naylor said he was unaware during Mr. Cain's three-year tenure at the association of any sexual allegations concerning Mr. Cain. Mr. Naylor said he also was unaware of any harassment-related settlement going before the executive board, on which he also served.

"There is no way we would have paid a settlement without this going before the executive board," said Mr. Naylor, who as chairman hired Mr. Cain as the trade group's president in 1996.

In his speech at the press club, Mr. Cain said the trade group had conducted an investigation, led by its general counsel and human resources manager, and that he was unaware of any financial arrangement that might have resulted. "I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything,'' he said.

Mr. Cain detailed portions of one allegation in an interview later Monday on the Fox News show "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" involving a woman believed to be different from the one who claimed she was invited to his room. He said a woman was in his office one day and he noted how she was the same height as his wife. "And that was put in there as something that made her feel uncomfortable as part of the sexual harassment charge," he said. In the interview, he said "there was some sort of settlement or termination," that it was for far less than originally asked for, and indicated that he was learning new facts as the day went on.

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