Presidential races

Cain accuser’s former boyfriend corroborates harassment claims

A Chicago-area pediatrician who used to date Sharon Bialek, the woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment following a dinner in July 1997, said at a press conference Monday that Bialek told him after the alleged incident that Cain had “touched her in an inappropriate manner.”

Victor Zuckerman, who now practices medicine in Louisiana, said that when Bialek returned from a trip to Washington to meet with Cain, then head of the National Restaurant Association, to solicit career advice, “she was upset.”

{mosads}”She said something had happened and Mr. Cain had touched her in an inappropriate manner,” Zukerman said at a news conference in Shreveport, La. “She said she had handled it and did not want to discuss it further.”

At a press conference last week, Bialek said that during a discussion in Cain’s car, he “suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals.” Cain has steadfastly denied the allegations, along with those of three other women who have accused him of harassment, and said that he did not remember ever having met Bialek.

Zuckerman said that Bialek and Cain had spent a considerable amount of time together during the week of the National Restaurant Association’s annual conference in Chicago, and dined next to one another at least twice. Zuckerman also said that Cain had invited him and Bialek to a private afterparty, at which the two men discussed Cain’s 1996 gospel album.

“To this day I remember how impressed I was by this accomplishment,” Zuckerman said.

Zuckerman, like Bialek, is a registered Republican who says he has not endorsed or been contacted by a rival political campaign.

He said that his ex-girlfriend “became livid as she heard Cain’s denials,” and that she was not surprised that other women had made harassment allegations against Cain “based on her experience” with the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO during his time as head of the restaurant association.

Like Bialek, Zuckerman admitted that he had faced recent financial troubles — including seeking bankruptcy protection for his medical practice — but said he was not seeking any financial benefit in coming forward.

“The public has a right to know this information to help them make an informed decision,” Zuckerman said.

{mossecondads}He also said he was the one who suggested that Bialek contact Gloria Allred, who also appeared at the press conference Monday, to serve as her attorney. Cain supporters have argued that Allred, who has been involved in a litany of celebrity trials over the past two decades, could be politically motivated in bringing forth Bialek’s accusations.

But Allred said that her actions were motivated by Cain’s continued denial of her client’s accusations, and implied that she planned to keep the story in the news.

“If he hadn’t denied it, we wouldn’t be here today,” Allred said. “He wants to end this, he should just come clean. We’ll have to see what happens next.”

She also called on Cain to respond to Zuckerman’s statement.

“After Mr. Cain reviews Dr. Zuckerman’s statement, he needs to be honest with the public,” Allred said. “He should reveal fully to the public the details of the two other women who received settlements. … Mr. Cain’s strategy of blanket denials simply won’t work. He needs to come clean with the American public. Now is the time.”

Cain’s wife, Gloria, spoke for the first time about the allegations in an interview set to air Monday evening on Fox, supporting her husband’s assertion that the charges were untrue.

“You hear the graphic allegations and we know that would have been something that’s totally disrespectful of her as a woman,” Gloria Cain said. “And I know the type of person he is. He totally respects women.”

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