Report: Second Former Staffer Accuses Conyers of Harassment

Comes after Conyers stepped down as House Judiciary Committee ranking member

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., walks down the House steps after voting in the Capitol earlier this month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A second former staffer for Rep. John Conyers has accused the Michigan Democrat of making unwanted sexual advances toward her in the late 1990s.

Deanna Maher served as Conyers’ deputy chief of staff who ran a district office from 1997 to 2005.

Maher told the Detroit News there were three instances of Conyers making unwanted sexual advances toward her.

The first came shortly after he hired her during an event with the Congressional Black Caucus when Conyers put her in his hotel suite.

Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed asked why Maher would continue to work for him if he harassed her that way.

“I needed to earn a living, and I was 57,” Maher explained her decision. “How many people are going to hire you at that age?”

Former reporter for the Detroit Free Press Joel Thurtell confirmed Maher went to him about the incident, but didn’t go on record for fear of retaliation.

Maher said the second incident came in 1998 when Conyers was driving to the airport.

“He was trying to feel me up with his right hand,” Maher said. “I kept pushing his hand away. Then he put his hand on my neck and started trying to tickle me. We were on I-75, and he was driving erratically. I was saved by the bell because we got pulled over by the police for the way he was driving.”

Reed disputed the nature of that accusation.

“At best, they are uncorroborated. At worst, they’re just not believable,” he said. “When you consider that they’re flying down I-75, he is driving and has time to do all of that, they get pulled over by a police officer, and she doesn’t tell him what’s going on?”

Maher said the third incident happened in 1999 during a meeting with ministers in Highland Park when Conyers “put his hand up my dress and whispered in my ear, ‘I didn’t know you had such great legs.’”

In addition, Maher said she reported  to the House Ethics Committee and U.S. Attorney’s office in 2001 that a former staffer of Conyers inappropriately grabbed and forcibly kissed her while the congressman was in the next room.

Maher’s allegations come after Buzzfeed reported a settlement between Conyers  and an anonymous former employee.

The Washington Post also reported accusations that Conyers made unwanted sexual advances toward against Melanie Sloan, who was hired by Conyers as minority counsel on the House Judiciary Committee.

Conyers resigned as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday.


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