Wed, Nov 22, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Senior US Democratic representative settled complaint over sexual conduct

AP, WASHINGTON

US Representative John Conyers settled a 2015 complaint from a woman who alleged she was fired from his Washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances, BuzzFeed News said on Monday.

The Web site reported that Conyers’ office paid the woman more than US$27,000 to settle the complaint under a confidentiality agreement.

BuzzFeed also published affidavits from former staff members who said they had witnessed Conyers touching female staff inappropriately — rubbing their legs and backs — or requesting sexual favors.

One former staffer said one of her duties was “to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using congressional resources.”

BuzzFeed said it received the documents from right-wing activist Mike Cernovich, but independently confirmed their authenticity.

Cernovich said he gave the documents to BuzzFeed News, because Democrats would “try to discredit the story by attacking the messenger” if he published them himself.

The 88-year-old Conyers is the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and the current longest-serving member of the House.

Calls to Conyers and his office seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The government has paid more than US$17 million in taxpayer money over the past 20 years to resolve claims of sexual harassment, overtime pay disputes and other workplace violations filed by employees of Congress.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday said she was unaware of the settlement by Conyers, while House Speaker Paul Ryan did not immediately comment.

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