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Herman The Pervert Cains Woman A

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Karen Kraushaar has been a competitive equestrian and longtime government worker.

BY M.L. NESTEL AND DEBORAH HASTINGS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2011

Herman Cain claims sexual harassment accusations threatening to derail his presidential campaign are a smear campaign. But friends and family of one accuser say she is a principled and dedicated professional who was only trying to right a wrong no woman should suffer in the workplace.

 

Karen Kraushaar, a 55-year-old former journalist and seasoned government spokeswoman who served on the front lines of the Elian Gonzalez custody battle, is a competitive equestrian and lover of golden retrievers. She has been married for more than two decades.

 

“She wouldn’t be the type to make false allegations,” brother-in-law Ned Kraushaar, a Georgia software consultant, told The Daily. “This happened [more than] 10 years ago. It’s not like she wanted to try and hurt the Republican Party.”

 

Karen Kraushaar currently serves as a communications director at the Inspector General’s Office of the Treasury Department, a position she has held since last year. She did not return phone messages left by The Daily.

 

She is “an extraordinarily good person,” said Jennie Williams, a friend and Atlanta equestrian. “She is very reliable and has lots of integrity. I don’t know what happened. I don’t want to know. Enough is enough. She is quality.”

 

A former colleague at the National Restaurant Association who asked not to be identified said of Kraushaar, “The woman is a consummate professional. What I saw was an extremely talented woman. A professional, knowledgeable woman and nothing more.”

 

On Oct. 30, Politico first reported that two women had accused Cain, who leads many polls in the Republican presidential race, of inappropriate comments and sexual advances in the 1990s. A fourth woman, Sharon Bialek, came forward yesterday, flanked by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

 

Kraushaar, who lives in Maryland, has no desire to speak publicly about the complaint she filed against Cain, letting her superiors know “about a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances from the CEO,” her attorney, Joel Bennett, said recently.

 

“Those complaints were resolved in an agreement with her acceptance of a monetary settlement,” Bennett said. “She and her husband see no value in revisiting this matter now, nor in discussing this matter further, publicly or privately. In fact, it would be extremely painful to do so.”

 

Ned Kraushaar said his sister-in-law never discussed the incident that allegedly occurred when she was a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association from 1998 to 1999, a Washington lobbying firm then headed by Cain. “She kept it all quiet because of the confidentiality agreement,” he said by phone from his Atlanta home.

 

A lifelong horsewoman, Kraushaar was diagnosed at 21 with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

 

After multiple surgeries and physical therapists, she was back in the saddle, now favoring the Paso Fino breed of horses because they have a gentler gait, her family said.

 

She follows a rigorous exercise plan involving weight training and cardiovascular conditioning, according to an equestrian website.

 

“Strange as it may seem, scoliosis makes sitting for hours in a chair a lot harder than walking or riding my horse,” she told the site.

 

After the settlement, Kraushaar served as a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was a chief spokeswoman during one of the agency’s most controversial immigration cases — the custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban boy rescued at sea who was then held by Florida relatives against the will of his father in Cuba. The boy was eventually returned to his dad.

 

In 2003, Kraushaar was a communications specialist for the Tax Advocate Service, an independent arm within the Internal Revenue Service that helps impoverished taxpayers.

 

Bialek is the only one of the four accusers to speak publicly. Cain’s campaign instantly issued a blanket denial yesterday, saying, “All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are false.”

 

“There was nothing to these baseless claims,” he said on Sunday, recalling the first report of the charges. “I knew that.”

 

Cain’s chief of staff, Michael Block, initially told Politico, “Dredging this up now is merely part of a smear campaign meant to discredit a true patriot.”

 

Yesterday, Cain’s campaign wouldn’t comment on the specifics of any of the allegations, but has a press conference scheduled for today.

 

But Kraushaar family members who spoke to The Daily said the only lies were coming from Cain.

 

“His denial of the whole thing, and his making light of it, seems to me to be more damaging to his character than the initial allegations,” said Karen Kraushaar’s sister-in-law, who asked not to be named. “If he would have just come out and said, 'This is what happened,’ it would have been so much better for everybody.”

 

Since Politico broke the story that two women had received cash settlements after filing sexual harassment claims against Cain, various news outlets have declined to identify the women, citing privacy issues. A third woman’s case was disclosed last week, but The Associated Press did not name her.

 

Following a request from Bennett, the restaurant association waived the confidentiality terms of its agreement with Kraushaar last Friday so that she would be allowed to speak publicly.

 

Ned Kraushaar said his sister-in-law remained stoic.

 

“She doesn’t like all the attention,” he said. “She will make sure that the record is straight.”

 

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday, more than half of likely Republican primary voters — including 6 in 10 tea party supporters — said the allegations against Cain did not concern them. Another 15 percent said they were “just a little” concerned.

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