Twelve women who used to work for Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on Sunday said the congressman “never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner” toward them, though several ex-staffers have accused Conyers of sexual harassment and misconduct.
“Our experiences with Mr. Conyers were quite different than the image of him being portrayed in the media. Mr. Conyers was a gentleman and never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in our presence,” the staffers said in a statement.
The staffers said they “do not pass judgment on the specific allegations reported in the press or the women who brought them.” They also “support allowing the ethics investigation” the House committee has opened into the allegations “to run its course.”
Several former staffers last week accused Conyers of asking them for sexual favors and inappropriately touching them. Conyers has denied the accusations, but on Sunday said he will “step aside” as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee while the House’s ethics panel investigates the allegations against him.
Read the staffers’ signed statement:
We are women whose combined tenures span over thirty years working with Congressman Conyers in Washington, D.C. in a variety of capacities, including legal, communications, and executive support positions. We do not condone or justify sexual harassment and believe the ongoing national debate is important. While we do not pass judgment on the specific allegations reported in the press or the women who brought them, our experiences with Mr. Conyers were quite different than the image of him being portrayed in the media. Mr. Conyers was a gentleman and never behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in our presence. He was respectful, valued our opinions, challenged our thinking, and treated us as professionals. Under his leadership, we worked in an environment dedicated to the advancement of human and civil rights, including women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, and the intellectual property rights of creators. We believe in due process and support allowing the ethics investigation to run its course.
Martina A. Hone
Stephanie Y. Moore
Stephanie J. Peters
Rinia L. Shelby
B. Nicole Triplett