New accuser: Conyers got handsy in car
Washington — A woman who volunteered for longtime U.S. Rep. John Conyers is accusing him of touching her inappropriately.
Delores Lyons, who volunteered for Conyers from 2010-14, claims in an affidavit that there were three instances in which Conyers fondled her, including an incident in which he guided her hand to his genitals while she was driving.
She said she yelled at him to stop and “go back to sleep!” and he giggled in response. In a second incident, Lyons claims she and Conyers were at an event in a crowd when she felt a hand rubbing her buttocks and hip.
“I was startled and jumped away, which made my son turn around,” Lyons stated in the affidavit. “My son noticed that it was Rep. Conyers as well and even said, “Hey, man! That’s my mama!”
The allegations of sexual harassment or mistreatment are the latest against Conyers, who announced his immediate retirement Tuesday, the oldest and third-longest serving member in the U.S. House in history.
The latest accusations follow news late Monday of another woman to come forward with allegations against Conyers. Elisa Grubbs who said she worked for Conyers from 2001-13, accuses him of touching her inappropriately “by stroking and rubbing my thighs” and appearing naked before her. Lyons also says in an affidavit that she was sitting behind Conyers and Grubbs in church and saw Grubbs jump and say: “He just ran his hand up my thigh!”
Conyers has repeatedly denied claims he mistreated staffers.
His lawyer, Arnold Reed, dismissed the new allegations late Tuesday, saying Marion Brown and Lyons are great friends.
“The allegations of any female with regard to sexual harassment naturally should be taken serious, however when someone is represented by Lisa Bloom, who in every turn engages in tomfoolery and is employed by Harvey Weinstein, you have to look at it through a suspect eye,” said Reed. “She engages in nothing but tomfoolery, and it is not worthy of any further response.”
Lisa Bloom, attorney for three women who have made claims against Conyers, blasted Conyers’ decision Tuesday to resign.
“Congressman Conyers suddenly ‘retired’ today but the real reason was to avoid the upcoming Ethics Committee investigation into the multiple claims of sexual harassment and retaliation against him that we’ve been pushing for,” Bloom said in a statement.
“Ironically, he claimed he could not get ‘due process,’ but my client Marion Brown and the other accusers wanted the opportunity to testify before the committee and tell their stories, and Mr. Conyers could have also testified and called witnesses on his behalf. That’s what due process is. Yet he resigned to kill that hearing.”
In the latest accusation, Lyons recalls “standing at a buffet table when I felt Rep. Conyers brush up against me and slide his hand across my buttocks. I turned to him and said, ‘You’re going to get knocked out!’ ”
Grubbs claims she also witnessed him touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of Brown, Grubbs’ cousin, and other female employees of the congressman on “multiple occasions.”
“When Rep. Conyers would inappropriately touched me like this, my eyes would pop out and I would be stunned in disbelief,” Grubbs wrote in an affidavit posted on Twitter late Monday night by Brown’s attorney, Lisa Bloom.
Bloom said Tuesday she is “speaking to more accusers and will possibly be releasing more information soon.”
Conyers said in a statement read by a colleague on the House floor: “I vehemently deny any and all allegations of harassment or dishonor, but I recognize that in this present environment, due process will not be afforded to me.
“Nevertheless, given the totality of the circumstance of not being afforded the right to due process, in conjunction with my current health condition, and to preserve my legacy and good name, I am retiring.”
Calls for Conyers’ resignation reached the highest levels of House leadership last week, as Brown and another accuser went public detailing his alleged misconduct.
Bloom on Monday said Grubbs’ affidavit was the first of several she will release describing allegations that Conyers sexually harassed employees and “covered up complaints.”
“My client Marion Brown asks only for an acknowledgment and apology,” Bloom said on Twitter.
Grubbs described a time that Conyers slid his hand up her skirt while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.
She said she was startled and jumped to her feet, exclaiming, “He just ran his hand up my thigh!” — an incident she said was witnessed by other staffers.
On another occasion, she was at Conyers’ home when he emerged from the bathroom naked, she said. Grubbs ran out of the house.
Grubbs said Conyers referred to her and Brown as “Big Girl Cousins” and would often say, “Those are some big girls.”
“Witnessing Rep. Conyers rub women’s thighs and buttocks and make comments about women’s physical attributes was a regular part of life while working in the office of Rep. Conyers,” Grubbs wrote.
Brown broke a confidentiality agreement to go on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday, describing what led her to file a 2014 complaint against her boss, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances.
Conyers settled Brown’s complaint for $27,000 using his taxpayer-funded office budget. Brown has offered to testify before the House Ethics Committee, which is investigating Conyers.
The Detroit News first reported last week that former staffer Deanna Maher said Conyers sexually harassed her, including inappropriately touching her, in three incidents spanning 1997 to 1999. And another former staffer filed a lawsuit in federal court this year alleging sexual harassment by Conyers but later withdrew the complaint to protect the congressman’s reputation.
Grubbs indicated in her affidavit that she’s also willing to testify under oath.
Grubbs attended a fundraiser with Conyers and Brown in 2005 at a Chicago hotel, where she overheard Conyers ask Brown to come to his hotel room because he needed her help with something, she said.
Grubbs said she later picked up her cousin, Brown, at the hotel and that she was “physically shaken and upset,” with red eyes.
“Ms. Brown then proceeded to tell me and my mother that, ‘That SOB just wanted me to have sex with him!’ ” Grubb recalled.
Brown had said on NBC last week that Conyers had invited her to a hotel room in Chicago under the guise of discussing business but was in his underwear when she arrived.
“He asked me to satisfy him sexually,” Brown said. “He pointed to areas of, genital areas of his body, and asked me to, you know, touch it.”
Grubbs said Conyers regularly undressed in front of female employees and, at times, would call staffers in only to emerge from his private bathroom in his underwear.
Grubbs said she complained to Conyers’ chief of staff and to the staff director of the House Judiciary Committee on which Conyers serves.
“Despite my complaints, no action was taken and Rep. Conyers’ inappropriate conduct continued,” Grubbs wrote.