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Third Woman Accuses Herman Cain Of Harassment; Witness Goes Public

Herman Cain's sexual harassment crisis worsened Wednesday with a third woman telling a news organization that he sexually harassed her when they both worked at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, in another stunning turn, a male Republican pollster went on the record with a news organization to say he actually witnessed Cain's alleged harassment of one of the former trade association employees and indicated that the Republican presidential candidate's behavior wasn't exactly a secret at the time.

According to the Associated Press, the third woman has asked that her name not be made public out of fear of retaliation.

But the story she told the news agency offered some of the sharpest details yet of Cain's alleged actions when he served as the unpaid chair of the restaurant association from 1996 to 1999.

AP reported:

A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s. She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him.

The employee described situations in which she said Cain told her he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation.

Cain's campaign declined to comment.

Adding to the expanding sense of crisis for the Cain campaign was a report from a man who said he worked as a polling consultant for the restaurant association when Cain was its chairman and that he witnessed Cain's harassment of one of the now three women who have told journalists they were the targets of unwanted sexual attention from Cain.

Chris Wilson, a Republican political consultant who did work for the trade group when Cain was there and does work for super PAC supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential bid now, told KTOK, an Oklahoma news radio station, that he saw Cain harass a trade group employee more than once. An excerpt from the KTOK website:

Interviewed today on KTOK's Mullins in the Morning, Wilson, of Wilson-Perkins-Allen Opinion Research headquartered in Washington, D.C. explained he was a witness to the incident. "I was the pollster at the National Restaurant Association when Herman Cain was head of it and I was around a couple of times when this happened and anyone who was involved with the NRA at the time, knew that this was gonna come up."

Wilson described the woman as a low level staffer who was maybe two years out of college. "This occurred at a restaurant in Crystal City (Virginia) and everybody was aware of it," he continued. "It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact she left---everybody knew with the campaign that this would eventually come up."

Wilson said for legal reasons, he can not discuss details of the incident. "But if she comes out and talks about it, like I said, it'll probably be the end of his campaign."

Politico, which broke the initial story of the harassment accusations, has a bit more from Wilson's KTOK interview. Wilson said there were others present who saw Cain's behavior towards the woman and that others asked Cain to stop.

The two women previously reported by Politico to have accused Cain of sexual harassment during their tim e at the restaurant association have so far also not allowed their names to be made public and haven't come forward.

According to the New York Times, one woman received a settlement of $35,000 and left the trade group. No details have been reported as of yet on the settlement for the other woman in Politico's reports.

It's also been reported that at least one of the women signed a non-disclosure agreement with the restaurant association when she left the organization. The lawyer who has represented her at the time she initially brought charges in 1999 has said that his client would go public if the trade group would release her from the confidentiality pact.

Also on Wednesday, Politico reported that an Iowa radio host told them that Cain said made inappropriate comments to women staffers at his radio station.

Asked by NPR for a statement, Cain campaign spokesman, J.D. Gordon, issued the following:

"Mr. Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues."

"He has never acted in the way alleged by inside-the-beltway media, and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself."

"Since his critics have not been successful in attacking his ideas, they are resorting to bitter personal attacks. Mr. Cain deserves better."

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Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.