Washington — A woman says she quit her internship for then-Rep. John Conyers Jr. more than 15 years ago after the congressman drove her home from Capitol Hill one night, put his hand around hers and propositioned her.
Courtney Morse, who was 20 at the time, told the Washington Post that when she refused his sexual advances, Conyers made reference to the then-new investigation into Chandra Levy, a female intern in Washington who had gone missing in 2001.
“He said he had insider information on the case. I don’t know if he meant it to be threatening, but I took it that way,” Morse, now 36, told the Post. “I got out of the car and ran.”
At the time, police were investigating the disappearance of Levy, who was reportedly having an affair with California Rep. Gary Condit. Levy’s skull was found in a Washington park and, years later, a man named Ingmar Guandique was convicted of her murder.
Her account emerged this week around the time that Conyers announced in a radio interview he was resigning from the U.S. House amid allegations that he sexually harassed several female aides.
Conyers has denied the allegations of misconduct.
His attorney, Arnold Reed, on Thursday pushed back against Morse’s story, telling The Detroit News the new accusation is part of the “ripple effect” from when women first came forward.
“The congressman said that didn’t happen. She was a short-term employee there, and things didn’t work out for her,” Reed said of Morse.
“I asked him, did you remember discussing Chandra Levy with her, and he said, ‘Absolutely not.’ At some point, you have to ask yourself and think for a minute, what this person is saying, does this make sense? It does not.”
Morse told the Post that a few months into her internship, she accepted an invitation to stay on for the summer in a paid capacity.
She told the Post she had viewed Conyers as “one of those congressmen you look up to and you see as an icon. ... I was also working on important issues, and staying meant I could continue to work on them and potentially help people.”
Then Conyers began buying her gifts and asking her to eat with him in the members’ dining room, she told the Post.
She found it odd that he offered to go out of his way 30 minutes to drive her to the home where she was staying with the family of Matthew Salomon, with whom the Post verified Morse’s version of what happened with Conyers, including what happened in the lawmaker’s car.
Salomon told the Post that he approached the car to confront Conyers, but the congressman drove off.
Morse said she left her internship early and returned home to Ohio.