Cain denies sex claim incidents
Would-be Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has denied claims he sexually harassed women.
He rejected a report that he was accused by two of them when he was head of America's National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Mr Cain, who has stunned the political establishment with his rise to the top of the polls, issued the denial in an interview on Fox News. "I have never sexually harassed anyone," he insisted.
He confirmed that he had been accused but denied the allegations and said he was not involved in any payout.
Mr Cain - a self-styled outsider relatively new to the national stage - faces a new level of scrutiny after a burst of momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
He has been steadily at or near the top of national surveys and polls in early presidential nominating states, competitive with Mitt Romney.
In his denials to the report published on the website Politico, Mr Cain said he did not know how the restaurant group had responded to the allegations. "Yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association," he said.
Politico reported there was a settlement that amounted to five figures to the women.
"If there was a settlement, it was handled by some other officers at the National Restaurant Association," he said, adding that he hoped it would have been minimal because the accusations were false.
The report said the women signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them five-figure financial payouts to leave the association and barred them from discussing their departures. Neither woman was identified.