SAN DIEGO, November 30, 2011—The latest chapter of Cainton Place goes beyond sexual harassment. This time, Herman Cain is accused of having a 13 year consensual affair with a certain Ginger White. Cain admits that he knows the woman and that they have been friends but denies the affair.
“As you probably heard yesterday,” he said in a letter to his supporters, “a troubled Atlanta businesswoman used national media outlets to promulgate a fabricated, unsubstantiated story about a 13 year affair with me” (Associated Press, November 30, 2011).
White has produced phone records and records of text messages that can be traced to Herman Cain’s phone number. All of this was discussed over the weekend on FOX 5 Atlanta which broke the story.
Seeking swift damage control, Lin Wood, Cain’s attorney, sent a statement to FOX 5 that helped about as much as a symphony helps a headache. He insisted that “private, alleged, consensual conduct between adults is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public” and went on to add, “This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace — this is not an accusation of an assault — which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.”
Wood’s “assistance” is not a good sign. It sounds less like a denial and more like a net being set up under the cliff his client may soon fall off should White’s allegation prove to be true. I don’t know what Cain is paying this guy, but it’s probably too much.
We may never know the truth. Even phone records prove nothing more than the fact that two people talked on the phone. And if any of the text messages have been saved they will need to be a little more incriminating than a book White points to where Cain the author autographed it for her by writing ““Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.” Such words are slightly less than a smoking gun and in any case, Ginger dearest has already denied that there are any love letters lingering.
Meanwhile, Miss White’s own credentials are not exactly a glowing testimonial. For one thing, this isn’t her first sexual accusation. She filed a sexual harassment suit against an employer in 2001. The case was settled out of court but this was not her only brush with our legal system according to Fox News.
There is also a judge’s order that she libeled a certain Kimberly Vay, a woman who sought a “stalking temporary protective order” for “repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character.”
Ginger White also has the kind of financial history that could welcome instant celebrity status and its monetary rewards. In Kentucky, she filed for bankruptcy 23 years ago. More recently she’s been the recipient of eviction notices in DeKalb County, the latest being within the last month.
In an interview with FOX 5 Atlanta, White said, “It wasn’t complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship,”
We’ll see if such remorse over the “inappropriate situation” keeps her from signing on for an inappropriate book deal or movie project.
Many such stories of sexual misconduct have permeated American news these past few decades. Sometimes they turn out to be true as in the case of Bill Clinton and John Edwards. Sometimes they turn out to be false as in the case of Crystal Gail Mangum, whose 2006 accusation of rape against three lacrosse team students at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina ended up in a case that vindicated the young men and proved her to be a liar.
We need to pass a new law in the United States. When a false accusation is made and the phony witness is found to be nothing but a destructive actor, whatever penalty would have gone to the accused goes to the deceitful opportunist instead. If a woman falsely screams rape, she will spend whatever amount of time in jail that the defendant would have. A penalty of some sort would also follow fake sexual harassment charges. This need not mean that a court acquittal for one individual automatically translates into prison time for the plaintiff. But should there be indications of a fabricated story, new charges could be filed against the plaintiff followed by a separate trial.
And although it is not against the law to have an affair, lying about it by disintegrating another’s reputation should be a criminal as well as a civil offense. True, we do already have laws against libel and slander, but it should be required that they be enforced with the measure described above, rather than leaving the sentencing to a judge’s discretion.
It’s doubtful such a change in our judicial system will ever take place but if this dream ever came true, it might just make a few people think twice before deciding to give their lives a little extra attention and a lot of extra money at some innocent person’s expense.
Still, accusations often produce little more than “he said, she said.” Even a strong Cain supporter such as me cannot escape doubt when a female points her finger. I wasn’t there. That is the bottom line for any honest person. There is one certainty however: Stories such as these are tragedies. Be they true or be they false, sadness abounds. If true, we have seen a skillful, hard working man of terrific potential foolishly destroy his chances of offering a great contribution to our country.
If false, we have seen a man of integrity given a blow worse than death itself; the assassination of character. Either way, his campaign is over. Either way, those of us who love the man will mourn.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
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