Former Conyers employee reports new bizarre allegations (video)
On Thursday, well-known Washington lawyer Melanie Sloan, who formerly worked for U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that the lawmaker verbally abused her, criticized her appearance and once showed up to a meeting in his underwear.
During the 1990s, Sloan worked as a Democratic counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, where Conyers remains the ranking Democrat. She later ran an ethics watchdog group in D.C.
Sloan told the Free Press that Conyers constantly berated her, screamed at her, and repeatedly fired her and then rehired her.
Sloan made clear that she did not feel she had ever been sexually harassed, but said she felt “mistreated by this guy.”
“I’m no shrinking violet,” said Sloan, who went on to become the executive director for the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and open Triumph Strategy, a public affairs firm specializing in crisis response. “His constant stream of abuse was difficult to handle and it was certainly damaging to my self-respect and self-esteem.”
Sloan’s comments come after a Washington Post reporter contacted her about recently-revealed allegations against Conyers alleging he sexually harassed female members of his staff.
Conyers, 88, has denied all the allegations. On Wednesday, his lawyer told CNN that the Democrat has no plans to resign even while he’s faced with an Ethics Committee investigation.
“It made me increasingly anxious and depressed about going to work every day. And there was no way to fix it. There was no mechanism I could use, no person I could go to,” said Sloan. She claims to have contacted committee staff, a reporter, and a high-ranking member of then-House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt’s staff about Conyers’ behavior but was told nothing could be done. Instead, she was deemed “mentally unstable” for making the claims, she said.
Sloan is the first former employee of Conyers to publicly allege misbehavior by the congressman.
Acknowledging a culture in which people who are abused stay quiet for fear of hurting their careers or appearing disloyal to people in power, Sloan decided to speak out because she recognized that the anonymous allegations against Conyers were consistent with what she knew about him.
Sloan told the Free Press that she never witnessed any inappropriate sexual touching, but she acknowledged that the married man seemed to have a lot of what she characterized as “girlfriends” around. His wife, Monica, is a former Detroit City Council member who did prison time for bribery and other corruption charges. They’ve been married since 1990.
Sloan said that on one occasion, she was called to Conyers’ office in the Rayburn House Office building for a meeting and, when she got there, he was in his underwear.
“He was just walking around in his office, not dressed,” she said. “He wasn’t doing it to hit on me. It was more like he could do what he wanted. I was quite shocked by it and left quickly.”
Sloan also shared her story with CNN. That interview can be heard in the following video:
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