By Jack Gillum and Stephen Ohlemacher
A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain.
Cain’s campaign denied anew that he’d done anything wrong, decried a “smear campaign” as he is riding high in opinion polls and accused rival Rick Perry’s operation of being behind the original stories.
Perry’s campaign denied any involvement — and suggested the campaign of yet another candidate, Mitt Romney, might be a source.
A woman interviewed several times by the AP said she did not file a formal complaint against Cain because she began having fewer interactions with him. Later, she learned that a co-worker — one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week — had already done so. She said she would have felt she had to file otherwise.
The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared losing her current job and the possibility of damage to her reputation.
The employee described in conversations with the AP over several days situations in which she said Cain told her that he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work.
His actions “were inappropriate, and it made me feel uncomfortable,” she said.
Asked for comment about the accusations, including the most recent, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said, Cain himself, in an interview with Forbes, said he believed a Perry consultant gave information about the allegations to Politico.
Cain has declined to say if he will ask his former employer to terminate confidentiality restrictions on the two women who accused him of sexual harassment in the 1990s. Cain campaign manager Block said the campaign would address that question “when it’s appropriate.”
It’s not clear if Cain himself was part of the settlement or whether it just involved the association and the woman.
But he almost certainly would be bound by it, as the association’s former president.
“Herman Cain’s interest is getting this behind him,” added Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman.