Rep. John Conyers Acknowledges Settling Staffer Complaint, Denies Harassment Claims

  • Rep. John Conyers Acknowledges Settling Staffer Complaint, Denies Harassment Claims

Rep. John Conyers Acknowledges Settling Staffer Complaint, Denies Harassment Claims

If the woman dropped her complaint, signed a legal document saying Conyers had done nothing wrong and promised not to make any additional claims against him, she would be re-hired as a temporary "no-show" employee and paid $27,111.75 for three months, according to reports.

New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice on Wednesday became the first House Democrat to urge Conyers to resign, and Politico reported at least two others have said he should give up his post as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

"I have always been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers", Conyers wrote in a statement released Tuesday.

In court documents, the scheduler said she had a "fatherly affection" for the "Civil Rights icon" Conyers.

"I've reviewed the allegations against him, and they're as credible as they are repulsive", said Democratic House Rep. Kathleen Rice in a statement calling for Conyers's resignation Wednesday.

However, a defiant Conyers said in a statement "the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true".

House Speaker Paul Ryan says it was "deeply troubling" that the MI lawmaker settled the complaint, and that the House is changing its procedures for handling charges of harassment and discrimination, which have been called too weak and cumbersome.

He said he "resolved the allegations - with an express denial of liability - in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation". The staffer, who was not publicly revealed in the article, tried to file a sealed lawsuit, but the court would not let the complaint stay sealed, so she stopped the effort, according to Buzzfeed. These allegations are contained in a 2015 wrongful dismissal complaint.

On Monday it was revealed that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) paid a former employee $27,000 to settle a wrongful-termination complaint in which she alleged that she was sacked because she would not succumb to Conyers' sexual advances.

The female staffers allege that Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, indicated that "the performing of personal service or favors" would advance their careers or lead to increased pay.

BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staffers inappropriately - rubbing their legs and backs - or requesting sexual favors. She said he then told her she needed to "touch it", referencing his penis, or find him a woman who would. Right now, it isn't public how sexual harassment settlements are reached or which members of Congress and staff are responsible for them being paid out. Conyers's settlement did not come from that designated fund, but already the documents have sparked speculation as to what other cases have passed through the office.

Conyers is accused of using taxpayer dollars to settle a claim in secret, after a former staffer reportedly claimed she was sacked for rejecting his advances.

BuzzFeed News reported it independently verified the documents provided by Cernovich. Al Franken apologized to a woman who said he forcibly kissed her and groped her during a 2006 USO tour.