Conyers steps aside from Judiciary post amid sex allegations

Joy Montgomery
November 27, 2017

The first outcome since the discussion of sexual harassment in Congress began has come as Rep. John Conyers has stepped down from his position as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Melanie Sloan, a lawyer who worked with Conyers on the House Judiciary Committee, has also stepped forward to accuse Conyers of being "increasingly abusive" to her, behavior she says wasn't "sexual harassment" but "sexual discrimination".

Conyers' office recently confirmed issuing a more than $27,000 settlement to a former staffer who alleges she was sacked for resisting Conyers' sexual advances.

Leaders of the Ethics Committee said Tuesday they planned to investigate allegations that Conyers had sexually harassed or discriminated against staff members and used official resources "for impermissible personal purposes".

"We are strengthened by due process", Pelosi said on Meet the Press.

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Conyers has admitted to making the payment to avoid public litigation, but has denied any sexual harassment claims. "Is it two? I think there has to be - John Conyers is an icon in our country", she said.

Conyers' decision comes on the heels of a week in which key members of the Democratic caucus expressed their support for their colleague amidst calls for him to resign or otherwise face punishment. And that's very important.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is the next most-senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee after Conyers, the only African-American to have held the position of chairman or ranking member on the panel. "I will do everything in my power to continue to press on the important issues facing our committee, including criminal justice reform, workplace equality, and holding the Trump administration accountable".

"To be clear, I would like very much to remain as ranking member", Mr Conyers added in his statement.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who sponsored legislation to overhaul the system by which sexual complaints are made and settled on Capitol Hill, said Congress must show a greater commitment to addressing sexual misconduct. "We must ensure the Congress has a climate of dignity and respect with zero tolerance for sexual harassment".

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