Less than 24 hours after a report that Rep. John Conyers reached a settlement with a staffer who said she was fired from his office after rejecting his sexual advances, another sexual harassment allegation has come to light.
A former staffer who worked as a scheduler in Conyers’ office tried to file a lawsuit against him, his Chief of Staff Ray Plowden, and his district director Yolanda Lipsey, alleging Conyers repeatedly tried to make sexual overtures towards her, which perpetrated a hostile work environment, Buzzfeed reports. The staffer, who was not publicly revealed in the article, tried to file a sealed lawsuit, but the court would not let the complaint stay sealed, so she stopped the effort, according to Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed obtained and published the court documents, which were filed in DC District Court in March. The documents allege that Conyers hired the former staffer in July 2015. Four months later — after his wife had filed for divorce, which she partially attributed to her husband’s decision to hire the staffer — she alleges that she began to notice “random comments and lingering touches,”but thought they were innocuous. They continued, she said, and she told the Chief of Staff twice, who ultimately told her to start documenting them. However, she alleges, they were occurring too frequently for her to document them every time. That April, she requested formal counseling from the Office of Compliance.
“From May 2016 until July 2016, Defendant Conyers continued to, repeatedly and daily, harass both physically and emotionally and inappropriately touch the plaintiff by rubbing on her shoulders, kissing her forehead, covering and attempting to hold her hand, suggesting that she come to Detroit, causing the plaintiff severe anxiety and chest pains”
She ultimately decided to go on medical leave because of the stress, and alleges that a staffer stole documents that included a resignation letter and forwarded them to Plowden, the Chief of Staff. She was ultimately terminated.
A spokesperson for Conyers told TIME, “the former staffer voluntarily decided to drop the case.”
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