Longtime Democrat Congressman Announces His Retirement in Wake of Sexual Harassment Allegations
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is retiring from his seat as he faces numerous allegations of sexual harassment.
Conyers gave his announcement in a Tuesday interview on a local Michigan radio station.
“I am retiring today,” said Conyers. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans.”
He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to take his seat. Conyers’ great-nephew, Ian Conyers, will be running for his seat as well.
Conyers denied the myriad of allegations against him, claiming that they all stemmed from politics.
“We take what happens,” said Conyers. “We deal with it. We pass on and move on forward as we keep going trying to make as much as we can of this tremendous opportunity that has been given to me for so long.”
On the same day that Conyers announced his retirement, another accuser came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him. Delores Lyons claimed that Conyers pulled her hand onto his genitalia twice, prompting her to yell at him to stop and “go back to sleep.” Conyers simply responded with a “giggle.”
A total of eight women have made similar allegations against Conyers. One of the women, Marion Brown, received a taxpayer-funded settlement of $27,000 from Conyers in 2015 over allegations that Conyers fired her when she rebuffed his advances. Multiple women signed affidavits alleging that Conyers made unwanted sexual advances against them and used “congressional resources” to fly in women he had affairs with. Conyers is also accused of wearing only his underwear at times in front of staff members.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Brown, chided Conyers for avoiding an investigation from the House Ethics Committee.
“He claimed he could not get ‘due process,’ but my client Marion Brown and the other accusers wanted the opportunity to testify before the committee and tell their stories, and Mr. Conyers could have also testified and called witnesses on his behalf,” said Bloom. “That’s what due process is. Yet he resigned to kill that hearing.”
Prior to his retirement announcement, Conyers was facing bipartisan calls to step down from his position, although some Democrats initially defended Conyers when the allegations first came out.
Conyers has been serving in the House since 1965 and is known for his work in promoting civil rights and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs.