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Stephanie Petit
October 26, 2017 at 09:23 AM EDT

Veteran political journalist and Game Change author Mark Halperin has been accused of sexual harassment by five women, according to a new report.

“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin, 52, said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize.”

He added, “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 is stepping away from his current role as a political analyst for MSNBC, NBC announced Thursday.

“We find the story and the allegations very troubling,” said the statement from NBC News. “Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.

He also works for Bloomberg TV and spent much of his career at ABC News. He is perhaps best known for Game Change, the best-selling book about the 2008 presidential campaign. HBO turned the book into an Emmy-winning movie, starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin.

CNN reports that three of the five women described Halperin pressing his genitals against them, while two claimed he asked them to go up to his hotel room while on the campaign trail.

“He would say, ‘Why don’t you meet me upstairs?’ And I would say, ‘That’s not a good idea.’ And he would push the request further,” the unnamed accuser told CNN. “Eventually I would just ignore him and go about my business.”

Another woman said Halperin propositioned her while they were out on the road together.

“I excused myself to go to the bathroom and he was standing there when I opened the door propositioning [me] to go into the other bathroom to do something,” the woman, who was not named, told the network. “It freaked me out. I came out of the ladies’ room and he was just standing there. Like almost blocking the door.”

One incident included Halperin allegedly kissing a woman and grabbing her breasts during a meeting in his office.

The women, who remained anonymous in the CNN article, did not report Halperin to management at the time for fear of retribution.

“Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure,” ABC News told CNN.

Halperin joined ABC News in the late 1980s as a desk assistant and a researcher for World News Tonight. He rose through the ranks and was named political director for the network in 1997 and left ABC News in 2007 for a role at Time magazine.

The journalist joined Bloomberg in 2014 for a reported salary of $1 million, where Halperin co-anchored With All Due Respect.

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