Melanie Sloan, a high-profile ethics lawyer in Washington, D.C., alleged that while Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) didn't sexually harass her, he did harass and verbally abuse her.
Sloan, whom Conyers hired in 1995, decided to make her recollections public after Conyers refuted sexual misconduct allegations she said resembled behavior she saw from the Michigan congressman. Conyers, according to Sloan, repeatedly criticized her appearance and even saw him in his underwear after he invited her to his office, The Washington Post reported.
“I was pretty taken aback to see my boss half-dressed,” Sloan said of the experience.
Sloan told the Post she kept quiet for so long because when she reported Conyers's behavior, her complaints weren't taken seriously. “There was nothing I could do to stop it,” she said.
Wednesday's allegations were just the latest of many to emerge since Monday, when BuzzFeed said it obtained documents from former staffers who said Conyers engaged in sexual misconduct with multiple women. One of Conyers's alleged victims said she lost her job because she didn't succumb to Conyers's sexual advances.
Conyers later acknowledged the settlement he reached with that particular victim, who signed a confidentiality agreement after feeling pressure from Congress's Office of Compliance to stay quiet.
In response to the sexual misconduct allegations, Conyers issued a flat denial. Conyers's legal counsel, Arnold Reed, similarly denied any inappropriate conduct toward Sloan. “Representative Conyers has never done anything inappropriate to Melanie Sloan,” he said.
Conyers's former scheduler reportedly tried to file a sealed lawsuit — alleging he sexually harassed her on a daily basis — against Conyers. Although BuzzFeed was unable to reach the woman, it found court documents that revealed the accusers's attempt.
Part of Sloan's reason for coming forward was that she wanted to make it easier for future accusers. “People are afraid to come forward. So much about working in Washington is about loyalty, and you are supposed to shut up about these things," she said.
In response to Monday's report, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the allegations against Conyers. While leaders of both parties conveyed their concern with the allegations, at least one House Democrat — Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) — called for Conyers to resign, according to Politico.
Two others — Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)— said Conyers should no longer serve as the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.