- (Image: ABC News video)
Sharon Bialek, the fourth woman to accuse presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment, has publicly accused the GOP frontrunner at a press conference with lawyer Gloria Allred.
Bialek shared details of the alleged encounter during a press conference Monday, revealing that the alleged harassment started 14 years ago when she met Cain at a National Restaurant Association (NRA) conference, during which time she worked as a fundraiser for the lobbyist group's education fund. After being invited to a party in Cain's hotel suite after the fundraiser, Bialek was let go.
Bialek then said her boyfriend arranged for her to meet Cain to talk about employment opportunities. The boyfriend reserved a hotel room for her. When she got there, she was surprised that she had a "palatial suite." After telling Cain about her surprise, Cain allegedly said, "I upgraded you."
Soon after, the Cain and Bialek went to eat at an Italian restaurant. Attempting to have a professional conversation about employment opportunities, Bialek accused Cain of steering the conversation into a tit-for-tat situation, in which he said, "Why are you here?"
Ignoring the hints, Bialek agreed to go to the NRA offices with Cain. Cain then allegedly tried to touch Bialek inappropriately, and moved her head towards his crotch.
"What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. That's not what I came here for," she said, to which she alleges Cain responded, "You want a job don't you?"
Bialek said coming out now and making her allegations public was in order to "give a face and a voice to those women who cannot come forward."
"Mr. Cain. I implore you," she said. "Make this right, so that you and the country can move forward."
Despite the graphic nature of the account, at least one commentator believes that the charges amount to more than sexual harassment.
Conservative blogger and lawyer, Doug Mataconsis, tweeted: "What Sharon Bialek described is not sexual harassment b/c she no longer worked for the NRA. It could've been the basis for assault charges."
That opinion was shared with The Associated Press reporter, Matt Apuzzo, who tweeted: "Distinction alert! If this woman's story is true, this is not sexual harassment. It's sexual assault."
If the charges are true and Cain's actions qualify as sexual assault, there is a 15-year statue of limitations for first or second degree sexual abuse and Cain could possibly face charges.
The Cain campaign released a statement immediately after the press conference vehemently denying the accusations, calling them "completely false" and insisting that the GOP presidential hopeful has "never harassed anyone," according to The Associated Press.