Calls grow louder for Rep. John Conyers to resign amid sexual harassment allegations

Conyers arrives at Detroit Metro Airport

DETROIT – As Michigan Rep. John Conyers arrived at Detroit Metro Airport on Tuesday night, there are more calls for him to resign amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.

The latest call for Conyers to resign came from Rep. Pramila Jaypal, of Washington.

"It is not easy for me to reach this conclusion because, as a civil-rights activist, I have looked up to Rep. Conyers for decades," she tweeted. "I believe these women. I see the pattern, and there is only one conclusion: Rep. Conyers must resign."

Conyers met with the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday in light of new sexual misconduct claims from a former staff member. His attorney said the CBC did not ask him to resign.

A third former female staffer has since accused Conyers of making unwanted sexual advances.

The women accusing Conyers have alleged sexual discrimination, inappropriate touching and lewd behavior.

Facing mounting pressure Sunday, Conyers stepped down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee amid a House ethics investigation.

You can watch Priya Mann's full story in the video posted above.

Former staffer accuses Conyers of inappropriate touching

A former deputy chief of staff said Rep. John Conyers made an unwanted sexual advance toward her and touched her inappropriately twice in the late 1990s.

Deanna Maher, 77, who ran a Michigan office for Conyers from 1997 to 2005, said there were three instances of inappropriate conduct.

She says the first was in 1997, when she rejected his offer to share a hotel room and have sex.

The others involved unwanted touching in a car in 1998 and unwanted touching of her legs under her dress in 1999.

Maher said the first instance of harassment happened shortly after Conyers hired her in 1997 during an event with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington.

"I didn't have a room and he had me put in his hotel suite," said Maher, adding that she rejected his offer to share his room at the Grand Hyatt in Washington and have sex.

CBC members pushing Conyers to resign

Several Congressional Black Caucus members are in talks to get Conyers to resign amid the allegations of sexual misconduct, several Democratic sources told CNN on Tuesday.

Those members are trying to ease his exit without trampling on his legacy during his 50-plus years in the House. Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, is the longest currently serving member of the House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is not leading the effort but is tacitly supporting it, according to Democratic sources.

A staffer to a member of the Congressional Black Caucus told CNN that "there is a feeling among some of our members that we need to protect his legacy," noting that Conyers is a founding member of the group and was a leading figure in the civil rights movement.

Conyers steps down as ranking member of Judiciary Committee

Many found out Monday morning Rep. John Conyers has stepped down from his position as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Conyers said this move is not because he's done anything wrong. On Sunday the longest-serving lawmaker tweeted: 

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.

— John Conyers, Jr. (@RepJohnConyers) November 26, 2017

Conyers' lawyer said the accusations are a sign of the times. 

"Because of the climate that we're in where several other women have come out against other people and started the 'me too' campaign, this was ripe for something like this to get traction at this juncture," said attorney Arnold Reed.

Attorney says Conyers will not resign

The attorney for Conyers announced Wednesday that Conyers will not resign amid allegations of sexual harassment.

"(The allegations) have prompted some members of Congress to suggest that the congressman should resign," Reed said in a release. "That is not going to happen."

Reed said while the allegations are serious, they are simply allegations.

"Congressman Conyers has no plans to resign," the release said. "He intends to cooperate with the House, should they determine further investigation is warranted."

House Ethics Committee begins investigation into sexual harassment complaints

The House Ethics Committee last week began an investigation into the sexual harassment complaints against Conyers.

Conyers is "expressly and vehemently" denying any wrongdoing following reports being made public this week that he settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 after allegedly sexually harassing a staffer, according to an explosive report published Monday.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.