BuzzFeed: In Court, Another Former Staffer Accused Conyers Of Harassment

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Yet another former staffer of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) alleged that the congressman regularly sexually harassed her, BuzzFeed reported Tuesday, a day after the same outlet reported on claims of harassment and wrongful termination made against the congressman.

The accuser, whose name BuzzFeed redacted from court documents listing her allegations, sought damages for Conyers’ actions in federal court but abandoned the effort when a judge denied her motion to seal the case. Her suit also listed as defendants Conyers’ chief of staff and district director, BuzzFeed reported.

The former scheduler alleged that Conyers touched her inappropriately and made repeated advances on her.

When his Washington, D.C. office’s chief of staff was put on administrative leave in March 2016, in one example, the court filing alleged “Defendant Conyers became more and more aggressive and continued to behave inappropriately towards the Plaintiff through the day by repeatedly coming to her desk, rubbing her shoulders, kissing her forehead, making inappropriate comments, covering and attempting to hold her hand.”

The filing was quickly deleted from BuzzFeed’s report after being initially included.

BuzzFeed quoted a spokesperson for Conyers who said of the accuser: “[The former staffer] voluntarily decided to drop her case.”

On Monday, BuzzFeed reported on affidavits from former Conyers staffers provided to the publication by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. In them, the staffers alleged Conyers had made advances on and inappropriately touched his employees, and also that he had used taxpayer money to fly women into Washington, D.C.

Conyers denied wrongdoing in a statement following that report, but acknowledged reaching a settlement agreement — in which he admitted no guilt, the statement noted — with a former staffer who alleged she was fired for refusing his advances.

The House Ethics Committee announced it was launching a investigation into the allegations against Conyers on Tuesday following Buzzfeed’s first report.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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