In the wake of a reports alleging a settlement for sexual harassment, Representative John Conyers Jr. is denying the allegations but admitting the settlement that was made to “save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.”
Conyers, the 88 year old dean of the House of Representatives and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, denies the allegations. Here’s the full statement:
I have long been and continue to be a fierce advocate for equality in the workplace and I fully support the rights of employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against to assert claims against their employers. That said, it is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true. The process must be fair to both the employee and the accused. The current media environment is bringing a much-needed focus to the important issue of preventing harassment in workplaces across the country. However, equally important to keep in mind in this particular moment is the principle of due process and that those accused of wrongdoing are presumed innocent unless and until an investigation establishes otherwise. In our country, we strive to honor this fundamental principle that all are entitled to due process. In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me, and continue to do so. My office resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation. That should not be lost in the narrative. The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment. There are statutory requirements of confidentiality that apply to both the employee and me regarding this matter. To the extent the House determines to look further at these issues, I will fully cooperate with an investigation.
“The reports about Congressman Conyers are as serious as they get,” Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said in a statement. “The Committee on Ethics should take up this matter immediately with a goal of promptly assessing the validity of the news account. This reported behavior cannot be tolerated in the House of Representatives or anywhere else.”
The Conyers name has had a mixed recent past.
Monica Conyers, his wife, served prison time for accepting bribes while on the Detroit City Council.
John Conyers Jr. himself had trouble handing in the proper number of signatures to get on the ballot in 2014, around the same time this settlement was said to occur. A judge ended up allowing the Representative who has been serving since 1964 on the ballot.
Also, according to Politico, the Office of Congressional Ethics investigated him for paying his former chief of staff, Cynthia Martin, for six months after she pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. At the time, Conyers refused to cooperate with the OCE probe.