Pelosi CAVES on John Conyers by Robert Gehl
In the current climate, sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations are becoming political weapons.
True or not, powerful politicians are falling to claims by women – and men – of past and current indiscretions that range from a George H.W. Bush “tushie-touch” to what can only be described as a serial offender.
In the latter camp is longtime Congressman John Conyers. The Michigan Democrat is the longest serving House member. He has a lot of power and a lot of friends.
But there’s one more thing he’s saddled with: a long list of women who claim to have been abused by him.
It started last week when he admitted to settling a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015. The woman who was fired claimed she was harassed, which he vigorously denied. Still, there are calls for his resignation and he has stepped down from his powerful position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was one of the last to still defend Conyers, telling Meet the Press that Conyers would “do what was right.”
But now Pelosi herself seems to have caved after one of the most recent allegations.
Melanie Sloan is a prominent Washington, D.C., lawyer who previously worked with Conyers from 1995 to 1998. She said Conyers sexually harassed and verbally abused her when they worked together, The Free Beacon reports.
“This afternoon, I spoke with Melanie Sloan who worked for Congressman Conyers on the Judiciary Committee in the mid-1990s,” Pelosi said. “Ms. Sloan told me that she had publicly discussed distressing experiences while on his staff. I find the behavior Ms. Sloan described unacceptable and disappointing. I believe what Ms. Sloan has told me.”
Now there are new allegations.
Deanna Maher, who worked for Conyers for eight years ending in 2005 told The Detroit News that Conyers made unwanted sexual advances on three separate occasions.
“I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,” Maher said. “John Conyers is a powerful man in Washington, and nobody wanted to cross him.”
Maher said Conyers propositioned her to stay in his hotel room on one occasion and on two others touched her inappropriately.
Still, Conyers insists he has done nothing wrong. His lawyer, Arnold Reed, smeared Maher.
“At best, they are uncorroborated. At worst, they’re just not believable,” Reed told The Detroit News.
“At the end of the day, he’s confident that he will be exonerated because he maintains that he has not done anything wrong,” Reed added.
Much like the women lining up against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, Conyers has denied any wrongdoing and said that the allegations are a smear campaign against him.
Conyers joins a growing list of politicians – Republican and Democrat – who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is currently embroiled in his own scandal. In addition to Moore, H.W. Bush and Franken, former Democratic Representative and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has been accused of pinning a woman against the door of an elevator and trying to kiss her. He plead guilty to false imprisonment charges and battery, apologizing to the victim.