CHICAGO (CBS) — So far, Chicago native Sharon Bialek is the only one of four women who have accused Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment to speak out publicly about the allegations.
Now, a day after she came forward, we are learning more about her and her reasons for going public.
As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, Bialek has been involved in a number of court cases in the last 12 years, most of them documenting a history of her financial struggles.
But Tuesday morning, she told CBS’s “The Early Show” that she went public for one reason only: to do the right thing.
“I really believe in this and I had to do something,” Bialek said.
That’s why Bialek, a 50-year-old Mundelein resident, said she came forward in a hugely publicized news conference on Monday, accusing Cain of unwanted sexual advances. She claimed he groped her in a car in Washington, D.C. more than a decade ago.
Bialek insisted she is speaking the truth and her high-profile attorney Gloria Allred continues to back her up.
“And the real question is, also, should the public believe four women – none of whom appear to know each other – or one man, who has the motive to deny everything?” Allred said.
Cain has vehemently denied the allegations, saying he doesn’t even remember meeting Bialek.
“I don’t even know who this lady is,” said Cain. “I went over and over in my mind, do I know this lady? The answer was no.”
But Bialek’s accusations have raised questions about her own background, which is riddled with civil lawsuits and financial issues.
In 1991 and again in 2001, Bialek filed for bankruptcy.
A search of Cook County records revealed two liens have been filed against Bialek – one in 2006 by a company called Water Heaters Only, Inc., for almost $900; and another in 2009, by the IRS, for more than $5,000.
Bialek was also named in a nasty paternity and, later, custody lawsuit with the father of her now 13-year-old son.
She was also named in at least five civil lawsuits – for unpaid rent, credit card balances and loans, totaling more than $13,000.
When asked what she had to gain, by going public with her allegations against Cain, Bialek said, “Absolutely nothing. I have so much to lose, but really nothing to gain.”
Bialek said yesterday she wasn’t paid to come forward. She didn’t sell her story. Allred has said she will not be suing Cain over the allegations.
And Bialek’s fiancé – who lives with her in Mundelein – said he adamantly supports her.
But, after Cain’s comments today, the “He said, she said” battle lines became even more pronounced.