A woman who said she accepted a settlement from Rep. John Conyers of Michigan broke her confidentiality agreement on Thursday, detailing allegations of sexual misconduct in hopes to be a voice for others in similar circumstances.
She claimed Conyers regularly “violated my body” and “propositioned me for sex” under the guise of business meetings over the 11 years she worked for him.
One incident in 2005 involved a similar situation, when Conyers invited Brown to the hotel where he was staying in Chicago and she found him dressed only in his underwear.
“He asked me to satisfy him sexually,” she said. “He pointed to [the] genital areas of his body and asked me to touch him.”
Brown said she was “frozen” before telling him that she had to leave.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I didn’t want to lose my job, I didn’t want to upset him. Also, he asked me to find other people that would satisfy him.”
On Thursday morning, Conyers family spokesman Sam Riddle told reporters that the congressman has been hospitalized and his illness is stress-related, according to CBS Detroit.
“The congressman is resting comfortably in an area hospital,” Riddle also told reporters, per New York’s Daily News. “He’s doing okay, as well as can be expected for a gentleman that’s approaching 90 years of age.”
Brown said Thursday that she did once report Conyers’ behavior to the chief of staff, who said he would talk to the Michigan lawmaker. However, she said the misconduct continued and no formal action was taken.
She said she didn’t leave the job because she was a single mother raising four children and she felt she was making a difference working under the “civil rights icon.”
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However, Brown is speaking out now for future generations of women.
“I am taking a risk. And the reason why I’m taking a risk – and it’s important – I want to be a voice,” she said. “My granddaughter, when she enters the workforce long when I’m gone, I want her to not endure sexism and gender inequality.”
She added, “I want to stand up, and I felt it was worth the risk.”
Conyers — the most senior member of the House, holding his seat since 1965 — stepped down as the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday in light of an investigation into sexual harassment accusations against him.
“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” the 27-term congressman said in a statement released on his Twitter page.
Conyers, 88, continued, “I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
The Democrat added that he was leaving his post reluctantly, but felt he needed to do so due to the pending investigation.
Last week, Buzzfeed reported that Conyers reached a $27,000 settlement with a staffer who alleged she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances. The outlet also cited four affidavits from Conyers’ former staff members describing his alleged sexual overtures toward female staffers, which included requesting certain acts in exchange for sex.