Herman Cain's Accuser Deserves A Chance To Talk

Herman Cain is hazy on the details of the sexual harassment claims filed against him in the late '90s, so he'll be excited to learn that one of the women who filed a complaint remembers the incidents well, and she wants to tell her story. Theoretically, the confidential nature of the settlement should prevent all parties from talking about what went down during those wild days at the National Restaurant Association, but since Cain quite publicly insinuated that his accuser is delusional, she says it's only fair that she be allowed to tell her side of the story.

Joel P. Bennett, who represents the accuser (who wasn't on the receiving end of Cain's confusing chin-to-hand gesture), told the Washington Post that she's barred from talking to the media due to a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she left the restaurant group. However, he argues that she should be released from the confidentiality agreement since Cain decided to publicly discuss the case (in the most vague terms possible). Bennett said:

"It is just frustrating that Herman Cain is going around bad-mouthing the two complainants, and my client is blocked by a confidentiality agreement ... The National Restaurant Association ought to release them and allow them to respond."

In the second day of his effort to convince the American people that we should be impressed that he was only accused of sexual harassment twice in his career (seriously, his listed that as proof that he's not a creep on Greta Van Susteren's show), Cain said he wasn't sure if the women should be allowed to share their side of the story due to the "legal implications." He failed to elaborate on what those implications might be.

In the meantime, reporters dug up a few more unsatisfying details about the incidents. The New York Times discovered that the second woman (who isn't the same height as Cain's wife) was given $35,000, a year's salary, as severence pay when she left the National Restaurant Association. The paper also reports:

Four people with contemporaneous knowledge of the encounter said it had taken place in the context of a work outing during which there had been heavy drinking - a hallmark, they said, of outings with an organization that represents the hospitality industry. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being publicly drawn into the dispute, and declined to provide details of the encounter, saying they did not want to violate the privacy of the woman.

Two of them said that other factors had been involved in her severance, and that other workplace issues had been making her unhappy at the association as well. But they said the encounter with Mr. Cain had added an emotional charge and contributed to the size of her payment. One former colleague familiar with the details said such a severance was not common, especially for an employee with the woman's relatively short tenure and her pay grade.

While Bennett makes it sound like his client is eager to defend herself against Cain's claim that her story is "baseless," another source "familiar with her thinking" says she may not go public even if she's released from the confidentiality agreement. The source says she "did not create this story," and feels she's been "completely swept up in this hurricane." (Insert your own hurricane/Herman Cain joke here.) She's currently discussing her next move with her family. We don't imagine it's easy to decide if it's better to remain anonymous while one man calls you a liar, or to publicly defend yourself against him and dozens of Fox News talking heads. But should it at least be a choice she's allowed to make.

Herman Cain's Accuser Wants To Tell Her Side Of Story, Lawyer Says [Washington Post]
Cain Accuser Got a Year's Salary in Severance Pay [NYT]

Earlier: Cain Knows He Didn't Sexual Harass Anyone, Can't Recall Much Else