Updated 11:00 a.m. EDT, November 21
Michigan’s Democratic Rep. John Conyers denied a report that he settled a sexual harassment claim filed against him by a former female staff member, The Associated Press reported. The longtime congressman added that he first heard about the allegations on Tuesday from a BuzzFeed News article.
Michigan’s Democratic Rep. John Conyers settled a sexual harassment claim with a former employee in 2015 for more than $27,000, in a congressional system designed to keep these types of allegations secret, BuzzFeed News reported.
“It is a designed cover-up. You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice,” said Matthew Peterson, a law clerk who represented the woman, referring to Congress’ process of dealing with sexual misconduct complaints.
Former staff members accused Conyers, 88, of making repeated sexual advances on female staff, according to affidavits included in the complaint. The high-ranking, longest serving member of Congress allegedly requested sexual favors from the women, rubbed their legs in public, and transported other women to Washington with whom he was suspected of having affairs. The former staff member filed her complaint in 2014 with the congressional Office of Compliance. It accused Conyers of firing her because she declined his sexual advance. Once filed, her complaint entered a lengthy process that required a confidentiality agreement. Ultimately, Conyers’ office paid the settlement from his congressional budget, silence the woman.
The process made the former staffer feel “basically blackballed” and having no way to complain out of fear of retribution, she said. Congressional workers have no human resources department to file grievances. The process gives them 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which triggers a process that includes counseling and mediation, along with the confidentiality agreement. The government has paid more than $17 million over the last 20 years to resolve workplace complaints filed by congressional staff, including claims of sexual harassment and other violations.
SOURCE: BuzzFeed News
Happy Birthday, Barack Obama: Photos That Will Make You Miss Your Favorite President
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 29
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 29
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 29
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 29
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 29
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 29
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 29
9. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 9 of 29
10. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 10 of 29
11. A Family AffairSource:Getty 11 of 29
12. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 12 of 29
13. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 13 of 29
14. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 14 of 29
15. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 15 of 29
16. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 16 of 29
17. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 17 of 29
18. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 18 of 29
19. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 19 of 29
20. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 20 of 29
21. Family SupportSource:Getty 21 of 29
22. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 22 of 29
23. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 24 of 29
25. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 25 of 29
26. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 26 of 29
27. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 27 of 29
28. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 28 of 29
29. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 29 of 29
Rep. John Conyers Denies Settling Sexual Misconduct Claim was originally published on newsone.com