Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain Flip Flops On Sexual Harassment Claims

"I know nothing of this settlement I am about to describe..."

A recent Politico exclusive detailed two women accusing GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association.
The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures...

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.
What is interesting is that Cain originally denied any sexual harassment or settlement.

"I have never sexually harassed anyone and those accusations are totally false," Cain said. "It was concluded, after a thorough investigation, that it had no basis."

"I am unaware of any sort of settlement," he added. "I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything."

In a matter of hours Cain contradicted his original comments completely.  When asked by Greta van Susteren, Cain responded with the following:

"My general counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were demanding a huge financial settlement…I don't remember a number…But then he said because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement."

This is far from being "unaware of any sort of settlement."

Another point of interest in the Greta interview is Cain's explanation of the incident.

"She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying -- and I was standing close to her -- and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, 'My wife comes up to my chin.'" Cain said. "And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable," Cain said, "something that was in the sexual harassment charge."

This is interesting because during the interview Cain said he only recollected one situation but according to the Politico article, there were two settlements separation packages. The article goes on to detail the complaints:
The sources — including the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.
This is interesting because what Cain offered up in the interview only touches upon part of the complaint - inappropriate physical gestures that may or may not have been sexual in nature - meaning Cain may be saving the best for last. Why would he address one situation but not the other - unwanted sexual advances in at hotels during conferences and NRA events?

Is Cain exploiting non-disclosure agreements by giving his own "facts" for what had happened in an attempt to discredit the anonymous sources, and with virtual free-reign since those who received the settlements would risk penalty should they come forward with the details that were swept under the rug. Also, considering Cain was party to the settlements - he claimed to have recused himself from the settlements but then said that he ended up settling with his general counsel - would he be in risk of violating that agreement as well?

Something just does not add up.  Cain first denied and claimed to not know what happened but then on friendly ground - Fox News - he offered up a little more details.  I guarantee within the week even more details will come out surrounding this situation and considering the amount of the settlements were in the five-figure range, I would imagine some press agencies would be willing to offer such compensation to these women for an exclusive interview providing them with the funds to repay any breach of contract.

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