CHICAGO (Reuters) - Sharon Bialek, the first woman to go public with sexual harassment accusations against U.S. Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, faces eviction from her rented home but refuses to sell her story.
Cook County Sheriff’s deputies served a court summons on Tuesday evening on Bialek’s townhouse in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, Illinois, due to nonpayment of $7,500 in back rent.
The owner of the home has begun eviction proceedings that should take months to complete, giving her time to pay what she owes, sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki said.
Bialek, a single mother who identified herself as a registered Republican, was not at home when deputies arrived. Her 13-year-old son signed the summons for a December 23 court date, which was witnessed by her brother-in-law, who is 60, Bilecki said.
Gloria Allred, Bialek’s high-profile attorney, said she spoke to Bialek who reiterated that she will not sell her story about being groped by Cain in 1997. Allred said she has been interviewing for jobs and hoped to land one.
“I would add that I think she is heroic to have spoken out and to have refused compensation for her story. Had she sold it, the compensation would have resolved her financial difficulties, but she refused to do so because she wants the public to know that she is telling the truth and that is the only reason she told her story,” Allred said in an e-mail.
Once a front-runner in the race to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, the Republican Cain denied Bialek’s November 7 accusations and said her story was concocted by his enemies.
She came forward in a televised news conference and said Cain groped her while she sought his help finding a job.
Cain previously denied claims of sexual harassment by two other women while he was head of the National Restaurant Association, though they were paid settlements by the group.
This week, he called reports about an Atlanta-area woman’s claim she had a 13-year affair with him “character assassination.”
The 65-year-old former pizza executive who has never held public office said on Wednesday he will decide within “several days” whether to stay in the race, but first wanted to have a face-to-face talk with his wife of 43 years, Gloria.
At the time Bialek accused Cain, his campaign said “his opponents have now convinced a woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy, to falsely accuse the Republican front-runner of events occurring over a decade ago for which there is no record, not even a complaint filed.”
Bialek has acknowledged having financial problems. Bialek’s boyfriend at the time later came forward to substantiate her story about Cain.
Reporting by Andrew Stern; editing by Philip Barbara and Cynthia Osterman