New York Rep. Kathleen Rice became the first Democrat to call on Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers to resign over the repeated sexual harassment allegations against him.
“Rep. John Conyers should resign. I’ve reviewed the allegations against him, and they’re as credible as they are repulsive. The women who reported this behavior suffered serious professional repercussions for doing so, which is exactly why so many victims of sexual harassment and assault decide not to step forward,” Rice said in a statement on Wednesday. (RELATED Top Democrat Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accuser With $27K In Taxpayer Money)
Conyers admitted to settling a wrongful dismissal complaint with a former staffer for more than $27,000 in taxpayer funding in 2015 after he allegedly fired the staffer because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”
Sworn affidavits signed by four of his former staffers describe Conyers as a serial sexual harasser who preyed on young, female staffers and abused taxpayer resources to pursue sexual relationships with women.
Earlier this year, a second female staffer accused Conyers of sexually harassing her on a daily basis. Conyers has denied sexually harassing his staffers. (RELATED: Second Woman Accused John Conyers Of Sexually Harassing Her)
“If men who engaged in this behavior suffered real repercussions, more victims would speak up — and maybe other men would decide to act like decent, civilized adults and not prey on women who work for and trust and admire them,” Rice said.
“Whether it happened 40 years ago or last week, settlement or no settlement, Democrat or Republican — harassment is harassment, assault is assault. We all know credible allegations when we hear them, and the same is true of hypocrisy.”
Full disclosure: Rep. Rice is a distant cousin of this reporter.