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allegations

5 former coworkers accuse journalist Mark Halperin of sexual harassment

Five women who worked with journalist and Game Change co-author Mark Halperin told CNN he sexually harassed them when he was political director at ABC News.

Three women said Halperin, who joined ABC News in the late 1980s and was named political director in 1997, pressed his genitals against their bodies, and one said he grabbed her breasts; he denies any of these incidents took place. Three of the women also said Halperin propositioned them for sex while on the campaign trail, with one telling CNN he would say, "Why don't you meet me upstairs?" She would respond, "That's not a good idea," but "he would push the request further," the women said. All of the women said they never reported these incidents to ABC News management because they were afraid of retaliation, and they want to keep their anonymity now because they are embarrassed by what happened. They said he never promised them anything in exchange for sex or threatened retribution.

In a statement to CNN Wednesday night, Halperin, now an analyst for NBC News and Showtime's The Circus, said that "during this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation." Halperin left ABC News in 2007, and CNN did not speak to anyone who claimed he harassed them after he left the network.