Over the weekend, Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that it was impossible to judge Rep. John Conyers because there were no women who had come forward publicly.
Now, we have TWO ex-staffers who have publicly come out as his victims.
The two women, Melanie Sloan and Deanna Maher, make it clear that the 26-term representative is indeed a predator who abuses his power. Here’s Maher’s account for the Detroit News:
The first instance of harassment happened, Maher said, shortly after the congressman hired her in September 1997 during an event with the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I didn’t have a room, and he had me put in his hotel suite,” said Maher, 77, adding that she rejected his offer to share his room at the Grand Hyatt in Washington and have sex.
The other incidents with the now 88-year-old Conyers involved unwanted touching in a car in 1998 and another unwanted touching of her legs under her dress in 1999, she said.
“I needed to earn a living, and I was 57. How many people are going to hire you at that age?” she said.
Conyers’ status as a leading Democrat deterred her from going public at the time, Maher said, adding she doesn’t have anything to lose now.
“I didn’t report the harassment because it was clear nobody wanted to take it seriously,” she said. “John Conyers is a powerful man in Washington, and nobody wanted to cross him.”
With payouts using taxpayer money to keep women quiet and his blatant harassment of women who worked for him, it’s all too clear that Conyers shouldn’t just be off the Judiciary Committee, but completely out of Congress.
That Pelosi was waiting for victims to come forward is almost as sickening, because she is affording a presumption of innocence to one of her own, and we know she would not afford it to a Republican.
But, partisan politics aside, it shouldn’t take a victim going public to demand he step down. The fact that he paid his victims off with taxpayer money should be grounds for a whole hell of a lot more than an investigation by the Ethics Committee.