Photo: AP

In a CNN investigation published on Wednesday, Mark Halperin, an influential journalist and political analyst who co-authored the bestselling book Game Change, was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women who worked with him while he was political director at ABC News. Halperin is currently an analysis for NBC News.

Five women shared previously undisclosed accounts of harassment by Halperin with CNN, in addition to sources who claim not that they were harassed by Halperin personally, but that they were cognizant of the situation.

Halperin responded to the allegations in a statement to CNN Wednesday night:

“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”

Halperin did not clarify precisely what he meant by a “step back.”

According to CNN’s report, the five women allege a wide array of inappropriate behaviors, including making passes at employees, unwanted kissing, and groping. Three women claim Halperin, while fully clothed, pressed his erection against their bodies without their consent. These claims of inappropriate touching and rubbing Halperin denies.

Halperin’s alleged behavior persisted from the ’90s to the mid-2000s; there are no accusations in the CNN piece from the period after Halperin left ABC News in 2007.